A Record (and Ratings) Breaking Number of Shows Ring In The Holidays
As with holiday shopping, TV’s Christmas season is starting earlier than ever — and the ratings have been a gift to cable networks. With Santa’s arrival still weeks away, cable has more holiday shows than ever before, and many of them are completely new originals.
Hallmark Channel’s Nov. 29 debut of Christmas Under Wraps — one of 12 original holiday films airing on the network in November and December, delivered a network-record 5.8 million viewers.
Nearly 30 original holiday films are slated to air through Christmas on cable networks ranging from Hallmark Channel to new entrants like BET — as well as hundreds of classic holiday chestnuts such as Miracle on 34th Street and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation airing on dozens of other networks.
Here are some ratings success stories this holiday season:
Hallmark’s ratings success with Christmas Under Wraps — second only to the 6 million viewers garnered by Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic for top audience honors among original cable movies this year — is just the tip of the ratings iceberg.
UP’s Nov. 30 The Tree That Saved Christmas — one of six original movies premiering this season — reached more viewers in the network’s adult and female 25-54 target demos than any show in the network’s 10-year history.
Lifetime has already generated more than 1 million viewers for two of its holiday-related movies, with more films slated to premiere.
Riding the sleigh of Christmas-themed content last month, Hallmark averaged 1.8 million primetime viewers in November, fourth best among all cable networks. Four of its original Christmas films — Northpole (4 million viewers), The Christmas Shepherd (4.1 million viewers), A Royal Christmas (4.4 million) and Christmas Under Wraps (5.8 million) — rank among the top 10 most watched movies on cable in 2014.
Lifetime looked to tap young women along with its core 25-54 female audience with its Nov. 22 En Vogue Christmas. The movie, which stars the members of ’90 s R&B group En Vogue as they reunite to raise money for a struggling family nightclub during the holiday season, drew 1 million viewers in its Nov. 22 premiere, according to the network.
A second Lifetime film, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever starring the popular Scrooge-like Internet feline, averaged 1.7 million viewers in its Nov. 29 premiere.
ABC Family decided to forgo original Christmas movies altogether and instead will look to reach its target millennial audience through holiday-themed episodes of its most popular scripted series as part of its annual “25 Days of Christmas” programming stunt. The Fosters, Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars, Chasing Life, Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy are set to air Christmas episodes this week (Dec. 8-10).
There are nearly 1,500 hours of holiday fare scheduled this season between the Hallmark Channels, ABC Family, and Lifetime.
Tango Media Management