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Holiday specs off to good start

'Rudolph,' 'Victoria' and 'Charlie' all rise in ratings

In primetime, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is filled with holiday specials about Santa, Charlie Brown, a certain red-nosed reindeer — and, naturally, supermodels.

CBS managed a way to pull off the seemingly impossible, drawing strong ratings — on the same night, mind you — for its unlikely combo of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” When they aired on Nov. 29, both shows posted ratings gains vs. last year, joining a slew of post-Thanksgiving event programs to spike in the Nielsens.

“Rudolph” grew 4% in adults 18-49 (4.0 rating/11 share) for its best demo score in three years while drawing its largest overall aud (12.64 million) in four years. And “Victoria’s Secret” surged 35% in 18-49 (to a 4.6/12) and drew its biggest overall crowd (10.4 million) in nine years.

The idea to run the specials on the same night is something that would figure to send folks like the Parents Television Council into a tizzy, but they haven’t made a fuss. Actually, they’d have no reason to, since the net smartly promoted each individually and placed the broadly appealing “NCIS” between them.

Anybody who watched the network’s doubleheader of NFL action on Nov. 27 saw numerous promos for both “Rudolph” and “Victoria’s Secret”; it’s just that they were never touted as a tandem.

Another perennial holiday fave, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on ABC, averaged a 2.8/8 in 18-49 and 9.1 million viewers overall on Dec. 5 — up 8% in the demo and about 1 million total viewers vs. last year.

Auds also showed more interest in the three music specials that are now a staple of the holiday season — although they are hardly ratings dynamos.

At ABC, “CMA Country Christmas” on Dec. 1 shot up 50% in 18-49 (to 2.1/6) and 23% in total viewers (to 9 million), keeping the net competitive on a night when it preempted dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.”

Fox did OK on Dec. 6 with its second “American Country Awards” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million), up 33% from its low start a year ago; and CBS saw slightly improved numbers for its Nov. 30 “Grammy Nominations Concert” (1.9/5, 5.7 million), though these numbers are a mere fraction of what the actual awards show does (more than 26 million viewers this year).

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