December 9th, 2009
03:41 PM ET
The most popular show with viewers last Wednesday wasn't a musically-inclined high school series or a crime procedural drama, but a 45-year-old cartoon about a reindeer with a shiny nose.
According to Nielsen, the annual airing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was the top show with viewers last Wednesday, both in overall numbers (10.6 million viewers) and in the key 18-49 demo (five million viewers, about 200,000 more than "Glee").
On Tuesday, ABC aired "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which first aired in 1965.
While it finished third in its time slot (behind "NCIS" and "The Biggest Loser"), preliminary results show more than 11 million people watched the "Peanuts" gang. A new Christmas special, "Disney Prep & Landing," did even better, with more than 12 million viewers.
In an age where network TV occasionally tries to stretch the limits of good taste and exploitation in the thirst for ratings success, it's refreshing to see that there's still room in the market for family-friendly "comfort" television.
There's nothing elaborate about most of these Christmas specials - the animation style on some of them look quite ancient to those growing up on Pixar and DreamWorks. But these specials continue to endure and entertain people of all ages, and it's easy to see why.
The story of "Rudolph" is one that we can resonate with. We've all felt like the odd one out at least once in our lives, just like the red-nosed reindeer.
Likewise the lesson of "Charlie Brown" that sometimes, you have to pause and reflect on the true meaning of the holidays, even when bombarded with buying the latest gifts, putting up elaborate decorations and cooking a multi-course feast.
The moral of looking beyond commercialism can still be found in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," even after all the editing ABC appeared to have done with the most recent broadcast.
A number of bloggers have noted that several scenes were missing from Tuesday's airing, including Sally's letter to Santa, Schroeder's multiple renditions of "Jingle Bells" and the kids discussing the taste of snowflakes. Not to mention the outcry over the special being bumped for a speech by President Obama.
If this doesn't prove how iconic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has become, I don't know what does. I also hope ABC listens to these complaints and airs the special again the way it should be broadcast - with said scenes intact.
What are your favorite Christmas TV specials and movies? Why do you think they continue to endure after all these years? And were you upset with the "Charlie Brown" edits?
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