Hallmark takes familiar holiday role; NFL leads prime time

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) runs with the ball as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (38) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NEW YORK – It has the makings of a blue Christmas for Leah. She's turning 30 on Christmas Eve, the same day she'll be a bridesmaid at her brother's wedding.

But wait — her childhood crush is back in town. Sounds like a movie premise guaranteed to tug at heartstrings, and no one knows how to do that this time of year like the Hallmark Channel.

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That movie with Emily Osment in the starring role, “A Very Merry Bridesmaid,” and another premiere last weekend, “Sister Swap: Hometown Holidays,” are part of an assembly line of holiday fare at Hallmark. Both reached nearly 3 million viewers, the Nielsen company said.

Hallmark was the most-watched entertainment cable channel last week, as it often is as the holidays approach. The network scores particularly well among its target audience of women ages 25-to-54.

Broadcast networks are rolling out their own holiday fare, with NBC's special surrounding the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center the most popular last week.

NBC reached 5.3 million people for its live production of “Annie!” Live television musicals are losing their pull ever since becoming a semi-regular feature when a production of “The Sound of Music” surprised people by drawing more than 18 million viewers in 2013. “Annie! Live” did beat ABC's interview with Alec Baldwin on the “Rust” movie set shooting, which was a direct competitor.

Meanwhile, Fox rode football to a win in the weekly ratings, averaging 6.4 million viewers in prime time last week. NBC had 6.1 million, CBS had 5.3 million, ABC had 2.9 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 930,000 and Telemundo had 900,000.

Fox News Channel led cable networks with an average of 2.42 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.05 million, Hallmark had 1.53 million, MSNBC had 1.16 million and Freeform had 1.02 million.

ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race with an average of 8 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 7.4 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.2 million.

For the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their network and viewerships.

1. NFL Football: Denver at Kansas City, NBC, 17.51 million.

2. NFL Football: Dallas at New Orleans, Fox, 16.7 million.

3. “NFL Pregame,” NBC, 12.12 million.

4. College Football: Michigan vs. Iowa, Fox, 11.66 million.

5. NFL Football: Seattle at Washington, ESPN, 10.9 million.

6. “NFL Postgame,” Fox, 10.46 million.

7. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.3 million.

8. “College Football Pregame,” Fox, 9.74 million.

9. “NFL Pregame,” Fox, 9.73 million.

10. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 9.34 million.

11. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.34 million.

12. “Yellowstone,” Paramount, 7.28 million.

13. “College Football Postgame,” CBS, 7.23 million.

14. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.76 million.

15. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.59 million.

16. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 6.48 million.

17. “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” NBC, 6.18 million.

18. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 5.81 million.

19. “Survivor,” CBS, 5.63 million.

20. “Ghosts,” CBS, 5.46 million.

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