‘Saturday Night Live’ Was the Number 1 Show on Thanksgiving For 2 Years in a Row

Topic matters, the viewers told us.

“Thankgiving is the one night a year our kids forget the big stuff and enjoy having fun with each other,” said Ryan Gosling’s character in 2016’s “La La Land.” The phrase is apt, because typically, it’s all about watching TV and going to other people’s houses.

Once you’ve watched your siblings, friends and family eat together, you need to get yourself something to eat. You need to wrap your face with some stuffing.

That’s why Thanksgiving viewing studies are important.

“Thanksgiving ratings for a lot of the networks are not huge,” said Dan Riordan, vice president of research and planning at NBC, which concluded its third annual study of Thanksgiving ratings.

“I don’t think it’s a market that’s ‘Wall Street Journal’-worthy,” Riordan added.

Still, most viewers watching the same show over and over see it differently. NBC studied the most-watched Thanksgiving episodes of eight of its shows: “The Blacklist,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Dynasty,” “The Good Place,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Saturday Night Live.”

Here are the rankings for those shows:

1. “Saturday Night Live” – 208,000, Nov. 28, 2015

2. “SNL” – 197,000, Nov. 26, 2017

3. “Bob’s Burgers” – 163,000, Nov. 22, 2012

4. “The Good Place” – 152,000, Nov. 27, 2016

5. “The Blacklist” – 144,000, Nov. 25, 2016

6. “Law & Order: SVU” – 130,000, Nov. 25, 2014

7. “Chicago Fire” – 118,000, Nov. 25, 2017

8. “Chicago PD” – 104,000, Nov. 24, 2016

9. “Saturday Night Live” – 98,000, Nov. 26, 2014

10. “Saturday Night Live” – 93,000, Nov. 26, 2014

11. “Saturday Night Live” – 91,000, Nov. 25, 2016

12. “Dynasty” – 90,000, Nov. 24, 1989

13. “Law & Order: SVU” – 80,000, Nov. 25, 1994

14. “Law & Order: SVU” – 80,000, Nov. 25, 1995

15. “Chicago Fire” – 76,000, Nov. 24, 2016

Source: NBC, “The Blacklist” Thanksgiving episode” at 9 p.m. ET. Nielsen ratings for all Thanksgiving shows were collected from People and Nielsen Buzzmetrics, except where noted as a source of data are either based on Nielsen ratings or the Nielsen BuzzMetrics signature. NBC Nielsen series may be repurposed with appropriate attribution.

Rich Kurtzman, a Los Angeles native, is vice president of marketing and content development at Kit Creel & Company, a Portland, Oregon-based media and events marketing firm. He previously worked in programming for broadcast and cable television stations. Follow him on Twitter @Rich_Kurtzman.

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