How Much Has NBC’s ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ Lit Up the Nielsen Ratings Lately?

Viewership is about half what it used to be — but that doesn’t mean annual tree-lighting delivers a lump of coal

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Though an all-time low, Wednesday’s 89th annual Christmas-tree lighting in New York City’s Rockefeller Center pretty easily won the night in TV ratings — but has “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” always shined like tinsel on the Nielsen sheets?

We looked back at data dating back to 1998, when the ceremony drew nearly 12.5 million viewers. That’s twice what the annual event gets these days — but it’s nowhere near a record-high. The 1999 lighting, weeks ahead of Y2K (remember that weird time?), topped 16 million total viewers.

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Tony Maglio

TV Editor • • Twitter: @tonymaglio