Crowd-Free Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Tops 20 Million Viewers

National Dog Show fetches 11.3 million viewers for NBC

2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a welcome — but atypical — sight. Though no crowd could be in attendance, 20.7 million TV viewers tuned in from 9 a.m. to noon, when it averaged a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

Those numbers made the Thanksgiving parade NBC’s highest-rated and most-watched entertainment broadcast of 2020.

The parade had 4.7 million YouTube streams, NBC said. An encore presentation of the parade got 3.5 million TV viewers and had a 0.9 rating in the key demo.

The year-ago 2019 parade, when people were still allowed to congregate in the New York City streets (and around Thanksgiving tables, for that matter) scored 22.11 million total viewers, the annual event’s smallest TV audience since 2008 (21.69 million viewers). This year’s eclipsed that mark (in the wrong direction).

See how the previous dozen Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades have fared here. In 2013, the parade topped 25 million viewers, the largest sum of this grouping.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a consistent and reliable ratings hit for NBC. The Manhattan march was last below 20 million total TV viewers back in 1996.

The 2020 National Dog Show followed Santa Claus’ parade arrival, and fetched 11.3 million total viewers to go along with its 3.4 demo rating from noon to 2 p.m. Good dogs.

While the parade and dog show both scored big audiences, NBC suffered a tough (ratings) break later on Thursday. Due to COVID-19 running rampant within the Baltimore Ravens organization, last night’s primetime NFL game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed until Sunday afternoon. It’s now been postponed again until Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That initial postponement off turkey day likely cost NBC 20 or so million viewers — at least, temporarily. Tuesday night should have a nice haul.

An encore of the National Dog Show in the football game’s place received a 0.6 rating and 3 million viewers last night. Happy (enough) Thanksgiving, NBC.


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