ALL EYES ON MACY’S: It’s been 91 years since the release of Harry Richman’s song “I Love a Parade” — but the sentiment still rings true.
The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last week was seen by 28.5 million viewers — a new record for viewership. This year’s airing, which featured Cher and Jon Batiste as performers, earned a 7.2 rating in the 18 to 49 demographics sector, according to a Macy’s spokesperson. Both of those figures increased by 6 percent compared to last year’s parade.
That was based on all platforms — NBC live coverage, which spanned from 8:30 a.m. to noon, the encore coverage for late risers that stretched from 2 to 5 p.m. and via Peacock. NBC’s morning airing was 30 minutes longer than last year’s telecast, but the average audience was still higher. The linear telecast of the parade — as in content that was delivered via satellite or cable — made it the highest entertainment program of the year across all of television in both categories. The parade qualified as Peacock’s number-one entertainment simulcast to date, more than doubling streaming hours compared to streaming for last year’s parade.
The Nov. 23 parade faced two widely publicized controversies. The 2.5-mile procession from the Upper West Side to Macy’s Herald Square flagship was temporarily stopped after about 30 pro-Palestine protesters were taken into police custody. In response to that incident, Macy’s issued the following statement, “Macy’s honors and respects the rights of all Americans to express their views peacefully. Our route is limited to authorized credentialed personnel and anyone that did not follow this protocol was subject to removal by the appropriate authorities.”
Earlier this month, an online petition started by One Million Moms regarding the planned participation of a few nonbinary individuals circulated online, garnering about 22,000 signatures. The group described the parade as “not family-friendly.”
Macy’s addressed that matter with another statement: “For nearly 100 years the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has showcased the very best in entertainment, delighting Americans everywhere with the most popular music acts, the best of Broadway, our country’s finest marching bands and dance teams, and giant balloons and floats that capture your imagination. Every performer and volunteer is there with one mission — to entertain millions of spectators and kick off the holiday season. We look forward to celebrating this iconic Thanksgiving tradition again next week.”