Holiday specials lift ABC, NBC

'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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