TV Ratings: Christmas Movie Classics Like ‘The Grinch’ Come Up Big on Black Friday

by Matthew Memrick
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Folks filled up on wrestling and The Grinch with other holiday programming after doing some Black Friday shopping and relaxing. 

For Fox, “WWE Friday Night SmackDown” ruled the roost alongside NBC’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” as both shows landed with 0.5 ratings. Bad boy Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn stole the wrestling program show, and Lesnar will return for next week’s show.  

Deadline reported that NBC’s reairing of the Dr. Seuss classic pulled in 3.18 million viewers.

Perennial Dr. Seuss favorite “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” also came in with an 0.5 for NBC, tying for the night’s most extensive viewership with 3.18 million. TV host Jimmy Fallon’s animated “5 More Sleeps Until Christmas” had a 0.3 rating before “Trolls Holiday in Harmony,” and “A Saturday Night Live Christmas Special” picked up a 0.4 rating for NBC.

On CBS, “Frosty the Snowman” and the sequel “Frosty Returns” had 0.4 ratings for each show. The network followed with a “Blue Bloods” rerun (0.3).

 “Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town” had a 0.3 rating for ABC while “20/20” finished the night with a 0.3 rating.

Finally, the CW network showed “Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Both those shows scored 0.1 in the ratings. 

Grinch Is Classic Christmas Fare

When The Grinch came out in 1966, the Dr. Seuss animated feature tried to steal “A Charlie Brown Christmas” viewers from the year before.

Legendary cartoon maker Chuck Jones and MGM Entertainment put the 25-minute feature together with a $315,000 budget. According to Mental Floss, that was four times more than the Charlie Brown holiday work ($96,000).

The online magazine also reported that if it wasn’t for Jones’s relationship with Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, there might not have been an animated Grinch feature. Geisel felt bitter about Hollywood and its treatment of him. It was Jones who talked him into letting him do the CBS feature.

Geisel reportedly knew “he could trust Jones and his vision.” The two men had also had an Army history of sorts. During World War II, Jones and Geisel created the “Private Snafu” series of educational cartoons. Famous director Frank Capra created the character. 

Frosty The Snowman Another CBS Production

In 1969, legendary animators Rankin and Bass created the animated “Frosty The Snowman,” and CBS broadcast it. According to MeTV, the men wanted the animated episode to look like a greeting card.

But this 1969 production wasn’t the first Frosty adaptation.

In 1950, a three-minute black and white “Frosty the Snowman” short went with other TV shows at the time to promote the original song. According to IMDb, it cost only $7,500 to make. 

But this colorized one had legendary actor Jimmy Durante narrate the episode. It was Durante’s final film performance as the actor suffered a stroke in 1972 and died eight years later. 

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