'Charlie,' 'Rockefeller' and 'SNL' score Wednesday

As the onslaught of holiday specials continues to roll out on the broadcast networks, ABC used “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and NBC aired a pair of seasonal faves to improve their standing on the night. It was a fairly tight race overall, with each of the nets having something to boast about.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC tied with CBS for the night’s 18-49 lead thanks to a strong opening hour with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall), which was up a tick from last year and won the 8 o’clock hour in 18-49. “Modern Family” followed as once again the night’s top show in demos (4.7/12 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall); it was about average for its recent episodes, as were “Suburgatory” at 9:30 (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) and “Nashville” at 10 (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall).

At NBC, “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) was up 11% over last year’s telecast for a four-year high and made the net more competitive in a timeslot where it has been airing comedies this fall. It was followed by the two-hour clips special “SNL Christmas” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall), which was on par with CBS dramas among adults 18-49 from 9 to 11.

The Peacock had its second best showing on a Wednesday with entertainment fare this season, behind a night earlier this month when it aired a special “The Voice.”

CBS saw its shows all bounce back from their Thanksgiving Eve performances of last week, starting with “Survivor” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall), which led the 8 o’clock hour in adults 25-54 (3.8/9). “Criminal Minds” followed with a solid second-place showing in its timeslot (2.9/8 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall), and “CSI” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) closed by matching its season high and winning or sharing the demo lead in most key categories.

For the night, CBS finished a tick behind ABC for the 18-49 lead while winning in adults 25-54. All three CBS shows easily led their timeslots in total viewers as the net dominated this category.

Fox’s “The X Factor” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) had its second best demo score in the last seven weeks, rising more than 25% in all key categories from its low Thanksgiving Eve showing. It edged out ABC as the 8-10 p.m. timeslot leader in adults 18-34 (2.6/8).

CW’s “Arrow” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) returned from its one-week break on par or up in most demos, including adults 18-34 (1.0/3). “Supernatural” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) was down a bit from its most recent episode.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC and Fox, 2.8/8; CBS, 2.7/7; NBC, 2.5/7; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 11.5 million; Fox, 8.1 million; ABC and NBC, 8.0 million; Univision, 3.9 million; CW, 2.9 million.

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