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Annual Rudolph Special Dominates Ratings

sg_rudolphChristmas classics can still capture the attention of American TV viewers as the 1964 classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired last Wednesday and beat its competition.

Rudolph, the reindeer who wasn’t allowed to participate in reindeer games, dominated the Grammy nominees special and Christmas tree lighting at New York’s Rockefeller Center. According to CBS, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pulled in 10.7 million viewers, making the special the most-watched show in the U.S. for that evening. The shiny-nosed reindeer dominated the kids on Fox’s Glee (8.2 million) and the Grammy nominations shin-dig on CBS (6.5 million), which featured the Black Eyed Peas and Nick Jonas. The Rankin/Bass classic also beat out Shakira, The Muppets and the legendary Aretha Franklin on NBC’s Christmas at the Rockefeller Center which scored 8.8 million viewers.

The ABC comedy Modern Family had 6.4 million viewers.

The one-hour Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is based on the song from Johnny Marks and is narrated by Burl Ives. The show has been broadcast every year since its debut in 1964. It is one of the longest-running Christmas specials in the U.S. The story recounts the tale of a shy reindeer whose Christmas spirit is dampened because his shiny nose has made him the laughing stock of all Christmasville.

Followed by an Abominable Snowmonster, the good citizens of Christmasville take off to the island of Misfit Toys in the Arctic where Yukon Cornelius comes to their rescue.  Returning to Christmasville, they learn that bad weather may cause Christmas to be canceled.  But Rudolph’s illuminated nose saves the “foggy Christmas Eve” by serving as a beacon to guide Santa’s sleigh.

Marks composed seven additional songs for the special: Holly Jolly Christmas, Silver and Gold, We Are Santa’s Elves, We’re a Couple of Misfits, Jingle Jingle Jingle, There’s Always Tomorrow and The Most Wonderful Day of the Year. Two musical numbers in the beloved classic were restored to their original form in the remastered version.  Now included is the full-length rendition of the song, We Are Santa’s Elves.  The second number is We’re a Couple of Misfits, a duet between Rudolph and his new friend, Hermey the Elf.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will get another airing Saturday, December 12 (8:00-9:00 pm, ET/PT).

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