Would you rather watch a creaky stop motion cartoon from nearly fifty years ago or a splashy computer animated cartoon from today? Audiences were faced with that decision on Tuesday night when CBS programmed the venerable Rankin/Bass special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer against DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas on ABC.
Rudolph soundly drubbed its competition with 11.3 million viewers and was the second highest-rated program on network TV during the entire night trailing only Fox’s Glee. Shrek the Halls meanwhile delivered 7.4 million viewers and Grinch 6.9 million viewers. Rudolph had a ratings gain from 2009, whereas bothÂ Shrek and Grinch had significant year-to-year rating declines. Everybody say it with me: audiences don’t watch animation for technique; it’s about how much they love your characters and story.