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Network Christmas Specials Down From 2008

sg_frostyThe annual CBS Christmas special, Frosty the Snowman, averaged a lackluster 2.1 adults 18-49 rating Friday night, according to overnight data from Nielsen. When combined with Frosty Returns, which averaged a 1.9, the hour of Frosty-ness pulled off a 2.0, off 17-percent from last year’s 2.4 rating.

Although annual Christmas specials did provide a marginal boost to network ratings, Frosty’s decline, along with other holiday specials like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, show declines versus this time last year.

Experts indicate that DVRs, along with Christmas DVDs or reruns may have led to the ratings decline.

Frosty helped CBS tie for No. 1 for the night with ABC. Each network posted a 1.4 rating and 5 share among 18-49s. NBC came in at No. 3 at 1.3/4, followed by Univision at 1.1/4, Fox at 0.7/6 and the CW at 0.6/2 at No. 4.

All ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Thirty-three percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m., CBS topped with Frosty, the night’s highest-rated show, and Frosty Returns at a 2.0. A rerun of NBC’s Law & Order landed at second with 1.2, followed by ABC’s Supernanny and Univision’s El Nombre del Amor, which tied at 1.0. Fox’s Dollhouse was fifth at 0.7 and the CW’s aptly named vampire drama, The Vampire Diaries, was sixth at 0.6.

Later at 9 p.m., the first hour of ABC’s 20/20 tied with Univision’s Sortilegio for No. 1at 1.4, followed by NBC’s Dateline NBC at 1.3. Another rerun of CBS’s Medium was No. 4 at 1.1, with Fox’s Dollhouse coming in at No. 5 at 0.7. The final episode of a weeklong The Vampire Diaries marathon earned No. 6 for the CW with a 0.6.

The second half of 20/20 was No. 1 at 1.7 at 10 p.m., followed by NBC’s The Jay Leno Show at 1.4 with a repeat of CBS’s Numb3rs at 1.1 and Univision’s Rosa del Guadalupe at 1.0. for a No. 3 spot.

Among households, NBC took the night with a 3.9/7, followed by ABC at 3.7/7, CBS at 3.3/6, Univision at 1.6/4, Fox at 1.4/2 and the CW at 1.0/2.

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