LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nearly six decades after it first aired, an “I Love Lucy” Christmas special was last week’s most-watched holiday program, according to ratings released Tuesday.
There was a gimmick involved: The episode of the 1950s Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz sitcom was colorized, as was a companion episode that featured Lucy as a grape-stomper in Italy.
The “I Love Lucy” special on CBS drew 8.7 million viewers to rank as last Friday night’s most-watched program and No. 16 for the week overall, according to Nielsen figures. Holiday runner-up “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — a relative newcomer that debuted in 1965 — settled for 6.4 million the previous night on ABC.
NBC could sing a happy tune, emerging as the most popular network among advertiser-favored young adults on the strength of the season finale episodes of “The Voice” and the NFL Bears-Eagles game on “Sunday Night Football.”
CBS was the No. 1 network among total viewers, buoyed by its reliable crime dramas, including “NCIS” and the series’ Los Angeles-based spinoff.
CBS averaged 8.8 million viewers in prime time, followed by NBC with 8.1 million. ABC had 5.1 million, Fox had 3.4 million, Univision had 2.8 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.4 million. CW had 980,000.
NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.2 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 7.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.1 million viewers.
ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.9 million viewers in prime time. The Family Channel had 2.38 million, the Disney Channel had 2.3 million, USA had 2.2 million and History had 2 million.
For the week of Dec. 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “NCIS,” CBS, 19.7 million; “NBC Sunday Night Football: Chicago at Philadelphia,” NBC, 18.3 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 15.6 million; “NFL Regular Season: Baltimore at Detroit,” ESPN, 14.2 million; “The Voice (Tuesday),” NBC, 14 million; “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kickoff,” NBC, 13.6 million; “The Voice (Wednesday),” NBC, 12.7 million; “Person of Interest,” CBS, 12.4 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 11.3 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.