December 4, 2009 / 1:49 AM / 10 years ago

Rudolph the Reindeer outshines TV competition

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Shiny-nosed Rudolph proved the biggest draw on U.S. television Wednesday night as the 1964 animated “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” beat Grammy nominees Black Eyed Peas and Aretha Franklin at New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.

CBS on Thursday said 10.6 million viewers tuned in to watch “Rudolph”, the Rankin/Bass classic based on the song by Johnny Marks, making it the most-watched show on all U.S. networks on Wednesday evening.

CBS on Thursday announced that Rudolph would return for a repeat showing on the evening of Dec 12.

The spirited reindeer, tormented because of his red shiny nose but ultimately heroic in leading Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, drew a bigger Wednesday audience than Fox’s hit new musical comedy “Glee” (8.2 million) and the Grammy nominations concert on CBS (6.3 million), which featured performances by hip hop group Black Eyed Peas and teen idol Nick Jonas.

Rudolph also outshone NBC’s Christmas at the Rockefeller Center, which showcased Aretha Franklin, Shakira and The Muppets (8.8 million), and ABC comedy “Modern Family” (6.4 million).

Narrated by Burl Ives, the one-hour “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has been broadcast every year since its original 1964 showing, making it one of the longest-running Christmas specials on U.S. television.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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