NBC Holiday Specials Score Big, CW’s ‘Arrow’ Up in a Flash Wednesday

'Christmas in Rockefeller Center' at highest level since '06; 'SNL Christmas' rules its time period

Rockefeller Center

NBC lit up the ratings toteboard last night with holiday specials, as “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” and “SNL Christmas gave the net its best Wednesday of the season. Among series, ABC’s comedies returned low but CW’s “Arrow” and CBS’ “Survivor” were on the high side.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” averaged a 2.3 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, running second in both categories to “Survivor.” The annual NBC special was up 10% from last year for its best demo rating since 2006. It has generally aired opposite other Christmas specials on the competition (last year going up against “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on ABC), but this year it faced none. This is the fourth straight year that “Rockefeller” has maintained or built upon its prior year’s rating.

From 9 to 11 p.m., “Saturday Night Live Christmas” averaged a 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers overall, placing first in the demo with three of its four half-hours and giving NBC its second best score in the timeslot this year (slightly behind the two-hour “Law & Order: SVU” season premiere).

And for the night, NBC won in both 18-49 and 25-54 while pulling close to CBS in total viewers.

At the Eye, “Survivor” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) was up as expected from its Thanksgiving Eve episode of last week, hitting a season high in total viewers. It was followed by encores of “Criminal Minds” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall).

ABC’s comedy block, which was in repeats last week, was at or near season lows: “The Middle” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall), “Back in the Game” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) and “Super Fun Night” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall). “Modern Family” was still the night’s top program in 18-49.

Closing the night, “Nashville” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) matched a nine-week high and likely benefited from “CSI” being in repeat.

Fox’s “The X Factor” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) was up as expected from its Thanksgiving Eve performance of last week but placed fourth in its timeslot.

At CW, “Arrow” introduced Dr. Barry Allen (The Flash) and saw a ratings spike (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), including its most-watched episode overall since February; it rose 18% in total viewers and 22% in adults 18-34 (to 1.1/4) vs. its most recent episode. The net is planning a Flash spinoff, starring Grant Gustin, who is appearing in two “Arrow” episodes this month.

Following “Arrow” on Wednesday, “Tomorrow People” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) was in line with its most recent episode.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 2.5/7; ABC and CBS, 1.9/5; Fox, 1.4/4; CW and UNI, 0.9/3; Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 8.9 million; NBC, 8.2 million; ABC, 6.4 million; Fox, 5.3 million; CW and Univision, 2.5 million; Telemundo, 1.5 million.