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NBA Action on ESPN, ABC Comedy Repeats Top Christmas Night Ratings

No original fare aired on the Big Four or CW; Univision second among broadcasters in 18-49

Christmas is typically one of the quietest nights of the calendar year for entertainment programming, and last night’s results were true to form, with repeats of ABC’s “The Middle” and “Modern Family” leading the way among young adults.

It was actually a night of all repeats on the Big Four as well as CW. ESPN was expected to win the night overall with its NBA action, as overnights suggest year-over-year gains.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, ESPN’s tripleheader of NBA action on Wednesday averaged a 2.3 household rating, up 10% from last year (2.1) and the best ever for the network. The Chicago-Brooklyn game at noon ET did a 2.3 rating, and was followed later in primetime by Houston-San Antonio (2.4) and Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State (2.3).

The day’s highest-rated game was the late-afternoon/early evening ABC contest between the NBA champion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, which did a 4.9 overnight household rating.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC won Wednesday among the Big Four in 18-49 behind “The Middle” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall). Also for the net were a special repeat of Tuesday comedy “Trophy Wife” at 8:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and encores of Wednesday regulars “Super Fun Night” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and “Nashville” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) to close out the night.

Univision did air original episodes of its novelas, and while they were predictably lower rated than usual, they lifted the network to a close second-place finish behind ABC in the 18-49 demo. Both “Lo Que la Vida Me Robo” and “Mentir Para Vivir” pulled a 0.8/3 in 18-49.

NBC aired all repeat specials: “Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), “Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) and “Hollywood Game Night” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall).

CBS, which won the night in total viewers, aired encores of its “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) as well as special repeats of Friday dramas “Hawaii Five-0” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and “Blue Bloods” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall).

Fox went with repeats of “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall), “Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) and Friday comedy “Raising Hope” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall at 9 p.m. and 0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall at 9:30).

And CW went with “Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall), “Merry Magadascar” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) and “One Direction iHeart Radio Album Release Party” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 0.9/3; Univision, 0.8/3; NBC, 0.7/2; CBS, 0.6/2; Telemundo, 0.5/2; Fox, 0.4/1; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 4.6 million; NBC, 3.0 million; ABC, 2.7 million; Univision, 2.1 million; Fox, 1.4 million; Telemundo, 1.1 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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