Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is still popular after all these years.
The Christmas time tradition, which was rebroadcast this week on CBS, was able to beat out the competition show Dancing with the Stars in the ratings.
The original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer first aired in 1964, showing the story of the misfit reindeer in his quest to become a productive member of the North Pole. The show is one of the crowning achievements of claymation, filled with voiceovers from B-list celebrities and just enough campiness to draw viewers in again year after year.
Some television critics had originally worried that airing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer before Thanksgiving was a risky endeavor, but CBS proved that the gamble was worth it.
Normally, an air date closer to Christmas means that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has fewer shows to compete against, but this week it certainly held its own.
For the 8 o’clock hour, Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer attracted 11.39 million viewers as well as a 3.0 rating among adults 18 to 49, a coveted demographic for advertisers. For comparison, DWTS attracted a 2.5 rating, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. scored 9.3 million viewers and a 2.5 rating in the key demographic. The Biggest Loser had 6.555 million viewers and a 2.0 while Dads on Fox had 3.185 million viewers and a 1.2.
The television special and the 1939 song that inspired it remain very popular at Christmas time. In fact, the idea of a red nosed reindeer has even been the subject of scholarly research. Last year, a group of scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and the University of Rochester in New York found that reindeer have 25 percent more capillaries carrying red blood than humans do.
That means Rudolph may have actually had a red nose.
Dr. John Cullen of the University of Rochester told Med Page Today, “In colder climates and also when they are higher up in the atmosphere pulling Santa’s sleigh, the increase in blood flow in the nose will help keep the [nose’s] surface warm.”
Maybe next year Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer can be reclassified as a documentary.