The 4th of July is not a popular evening for television. People are busy picnicking or barbecuing, swimming and going to fireworks shows. If none of those activities are available, people are often busy taking a day off to relax or produce their own fireworks shows. There are a slew of other activities people may engage in for the holiday celebrating the birth of our great nation, but TV isn’t really a big one, as evidenced by last night’s ratings.
Most networks opted to play repeats last night, with the exception of NBC, which nabbed the rights to air the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Since NBC was the only network with new content last night, the Fireworks Spectacular easily helped the channel to win the night. According to THR, between the fireworks show and the fireworks recap special that aired afterward, NBC averaged 6.6 million total viewers over the night.
The other networks did not fare nearly as well in repeats. CBS managed a .8 rating and 4.3 million total viewers on average across the evening, Fox only managed a .6 rating, and ABC only managed a .4 rating, although ABC beat Fox in viewership across the night, bringing in 2.2 million total viewers while Fox only averaged 1.8 million total viewers. It was a pretty dismal night for television, but it's hard to see why we would expect anything less when there were so many epic displays of fireworks in cities across the country last night, including a batch in Pittsburgh which were shot off in the middle of a lightning storm.
Still, if you were not wanting to check out fireworks or if you did prefer to stay in and beat the heat, cable actually offered a few nice TV alternatives. Syfy offered a Twilight Zone marathon, which kicked off at 8 a.m. EST yesterday and finished up this morning at 6 a.m. EST. Music channels including MTV, VH1, and CMT each offered Fourth of July marathon celebrations, as well. Over at AMC, the network ran a Walking Dead marathon which is actually ongoing and will run through July 7, so if you’ve been hoping to catch up with or re-watch any episodes of the series, now would be the time.
NBC may have won the night in ratings, but I think anyone who actually stayed out to catch a real fireworks display was the real winner last night.
Top photo credit@ Shutterstock/ Mikhail Kolesnikov