‘Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular’ Fizzles Out to New Ratings Lows

Annual NBC event was only able to be semi-live this year to maintain social distancing

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular - Season 44

“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” didn’t go off with a ratings bang Saturday, hitting new lows in both the key adults 18-49 demographic and total viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen data.

Airing from 8-10 p.m., the annual NBC event — which was only able to be semi-live this year to maintain social distancing — put up a 0.7 rating and 4.698 million viewers.

The Independence Day display’s previous low in terms of total viewers came in 2015, which was also on a Saturday. That tally was 4.958 million. Among adults 18-49, the prior low rating was a 0.9, which occurred last year, when July 4th fell on a Thursday.

Even with its new lows for the biggest U.S. fireworks event of the year, NBC still won Saturday’s primetime outright, coming in first with a 0.7 rating and in viewers with 4.3 million. Of course, it was facing very little competition, with ABC (0.3 rating, 1.74 million viewers), CBS (0.2 rating, 1.71 million viewers) and Fox (0.1 rating, 508,000 viewers) all airing repeats.

This year’s July 4 show featured footage from a weeklong series of surprise five-minute fireworks displays spanning each of New York City’s five boroughs, thus keeping crowds away and satisfying New York’s social-distancing guidelines. The grand finale display was broadcast live last night.

NBC News’ “Today” anchor Craig Melvin hosted the TV presentation, which, in addition to the colorful explosions, included performances by National Youth Poet L­­aureate Amanda Gorman, the Black Eyed Peas, the Killers, Lady A, John Legend, Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley.

It’s worth noting that Saturday 8-10 p.m. is a time slot in which NBC averaged a 0.3 in 18-49 and 1.773 million total viewers in Summer 2019. And those are obviously much lower numbers than the above-mentioned rating and audience size brought in by Saturday’s event.

These new ratings lows put up by the 2020 edition of the “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” are still decent and pretty much expected (as TheWrap predicted) because the holiday landed on a Saturday this year, plus the fact that most of the event was prerecorded due to COVID-19, combined with the general downward trend TV ratings have seen across the board.