Christmas came early for NBC: The network’s annual telecast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade delivered the biggest ratings ever.
The 97th annual parade was seen by 28.5 million viewers and earned a hefty 7.2 rating in the 18-49 age demo. Both numbers are up six percent from last year’s parade. It was also the highest-rated entertainment program of the year in both categories across all of broadcast and cable.
The record is particularly impressive at a time when even major live events have witnessed ratings erosion in recent years.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that a record number of people were able to enjoy the parade with their families and friends, and spend the day with us,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president of Live Events and Specials, NBCUniversal Media Group. “We take great pride in bringing the best holiday programming to our audience – across both NBC and Peacock – and there’s no better way to bring in the season than with balloons, marching bands, musical performances and a tradition like no other. A big thank you to Macy’s for being such great partners on this iconic event.”
The New York City parade first took place in 1924 and was first broadcast on radio in 1932. The event was broadcast on television for the first time in 1948. NBC has televised the parade since 1953.
This year’s parade made headlines when it was temporarily halted after a group of about 30 pro-Palestinian protesters were taken into police custody after apparently gluing themselves to the pavement of the parade route.
The National Dog Show, which aired immediately after the parade, drew 11.9 million viewers and a 2.9 rating in the demo across NBC and Peacock. That’s also up from last year’s telecast.