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Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family Have Christmas Fun

sg_doraIt’s not just the networks that are having a great holiday with its barrage of Christmas specials featuring Rudolph, Santa Claus and Frosty. On cable, the ratings have been just as great.

Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network aired Christmas specials featuring characters from their already-successful shows.

Last week several of the stations aired holiday episodes from their prized programs. It wasn’t just specials aimed at children. Disney Channel’s Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation, which was aimed at older kids, became the No. 1 show for the week that ended Dec. 13 among kids 6-11 and 9-14.

Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation, airing Friday at 8 p.m., had its most-watched telecast ever in 6-11s, drawing an 8.6 rating. Among “tweens,” it averaged a 6.2.

The ratings were slightly better than another competing Christmas spinoff on rival Nickelodeon with Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh. The rerun netted an average of 5.2 in 9-14s, ranking fifth for the week on broadcast and cable.

Drake & Josh beat ABC Family’s original movie, Santa Baby 2 Christmas Maybe, which debuted as cable’s top telecast in prime time on Dec. 13. It took in a 3.8 rating amongst adults and women in the 18-34 and 18-49 demos.

The movie became the top cable movie in the A18-49 demo in the year for the network, with a 1.2 rating and 1.6 million viewers.  The movie, which stars Jenny McCarthy and Dean McDermott, posted big year-to-year increases for ABC Family, with a 31% jump in total viewers, 63% in adults 18-34, 33% in adults 18-49 and 68% in viewers 12-34.

Among kids 2-5, Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure, based on the popular kids show Dora the Explorer, ranked first with an 8.1 rating, even outdrawing ABC’s Disney’s Prep & Landing, the highest-rated broadcast special of the season.

The difference between cable and broadcast specials is that cable can build on the momentum of an already-established series. Dora, for example, regularly ranks in the top five in 2-5s.

Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation, a cartoon about a pair of stepbrothers, has been hot in recent weeks, airing five of its top six most-watched episodes since October.

In the coming days Cartoon Network has several Christmas specials scheduled starring well-known cartoon characters, including the Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo.

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