Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Draws 23.7 Million Viewers, Out-Rates Grammys for First Time Ever

Big balloons also beat Music’s Biggest Night in overall audience tallies for the first time in nine years

Last Updated: November 27, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

NBC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drew 23.7 million total viewers this year, down slightly from 2017’s 24 million.

Even so, the parade was (again) the top entertainment show on television since the Oscars. And here’s an interesting tidbit: 2018 marked the first year in the history of Nielsen people meters that the Macy’s Parade (5.98 rating) out-rated the Grammys (5.96 rating) among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

The parade also bested Music’s Biggest Night in total viewers (22.3 million vs. 19.0 million), marking the first time in nine years that the two big TV specials ranked in that order.

This year’s march toward Herald Square was also the No. 3 entertainment telecast for the entire calendar year of 2018 to date, coming in just behind ABC’s telecast of the Academy Awards and the post-Super Bowl telecast of “This Is Us” (also on NBC).

The only parade telecasts that have brought in more overall eyeballs than the 2018 show — in people meter history, dating back to 1987 — are the 2017, 2016 and 2013 editions.

Following the parade, NBC’s telecast of “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” scored 11.2 million total viewers and a 2.70 demo rating, for its third-best score in viewers and fourth-best in the demo in the 17 years the network has televised the event.

See the rankings for the year-to-date top entertainment telecasts below, in both the demo and total viewers, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen.

Adult 18-49 Rating

Net…Show…Date…Rating

NBC…”This Is Us,” Post Super Bowl…02/04/18…9.31

ABC…Academy Awards…03/04/18…6.88

NBC…Macy’s Parade…11/22/18…5.98

CBS…Grammy Awards…01/28/18…5.96

ABC…”Roseanne” (P)…03/27/18…5.15

Total Viewers

Net…Show…Date…Rating

NBC…”This Is Us,” Post Super Bowl…02/04/18…26.987 million

ABC…Academy Awards…03/04/18…26.621 million

NBC…Macy’s Parade…11/22/18…23.679 million

ABC…”60 Minutes” (Stormy Daniels Interview)…03/25/18…22.131 million

CBS…Grammy Awards…01/28/18…19.826