The audience for the entire marathon has grown from more than 38 million people tuning in at one time or another more than a decade ago to roughly 54 million watching Santa kick Ralphie down the slide or Flick stick his tongue to the flagpole in 2009. The first showing on Christmas Eve regularly registers between 4.3 million and 4.5 million viewers, with last year's 8 p.m. showing pulling in nearly 4.9 million. Of the Top 10 programs on cable television last Christmas Eve, showings of A Christmas Story accounted for the top three, with even the midnight showing (and its 3 million viewers) outperforming college football on ESPN (2.4 million viewers).
We realize it's difficult to let go of holiday traditions. In certain cases, however, replacing cherished favorites with less anachronistic alternatives is best for everybody involved. It makes for good business, sure, but it makes even better holiday memories.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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