The premiere of seven brand new Hallmark Christmas movies last week pushed the channel to be the second most-watched across all of cable in prime time, securing a rare ratings win over Fox News, and six of the holiday films broke into the top 40 cable programs of the week with premiere audiences of at least 1.7 million each.
The Hallmark Channel bested ratings darling Fox News in the prime time cable race, with an average of 1.53 million viewers between 8 and 11 p.m. in the week ending Sunday, Nielsen data shows, up from 1.35 million viewers over the prior week and landing second in the ratings only to ESPN’s 2.98 million (Fox News averaged 1.29 million viewers).
The Hallmark Channel also moved from the fourth to the third most-watched channel in total-day average viewership last week, behind Fox News and ESPN, pushing MSNBC and CNN into the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
“A Biltmore Christmas,” which premiered Sunday night, was watched by 3.1 million people and fell behind only the Florida State Seminoles v. Florida Gators game and Philadelphia Eagles v. Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl rematch on ESPN—as well as pre- and postgame coverage for the NFL matchup—in the cable rankings.
The rest of the top-10 cable shows were rounded out by episodes of “The Five” and “Jesse Watters Primetime” on Fox News, as well as an episode of the History Channel’s reality TV show “Curse of Oak Island,” which drew an audience of 2.4 million.
“Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up” was the second most-watched Hallmark film of the week with 2.38 million viewers, followed by “Holiday Road” with 2.13 million, “Catch Me If You Claus” with 2 million and “Christmas in Notting Hill,” which poked back at Apple TV show “Ted Lasso’s” jabs about the films and premiered to an audience of 1.9 million.
40. That’s how many new holiday movies Hallmark will release this year—31 originals through the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” and nine in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ “Miracles of Christmas” lineup.
The NFL set Thanksgiving Day viewership records with an average of 34.1 million TV and digital platforms viewers across the three games, which aired on broadcast TV rather than cable, the Associated Press reported, up from an average of 33.6 million last year. The Washington Commanders and Dallas Cowboys averaged 41.8 million viewers to become the second-most watched regular-season game ever (behind last year’s Cowboys Thanksgiving game), according to AP, and the Green Bay Packers v. Detroit Lions matchup became the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record with 33.7 million viewers. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks game on NBC was watched by 24.78 million people on television (which rises to 26.9 million when digital is factored in, AP noted), making it the largest audience for a Thanksgiving night game in eight years.
The most watched non-football program on broadcast television was a rerun of a Young Sheldon Thanksgiving special on CBS, which was watched by 8.6 million. The ultra popular show will premiere its seventh and final season in February.