TV Ratings: Lady Gaga's Thanksgiving Special Boosts ABC, CBS Wins Night

A Very Lady Gaga Thanksgiving H 2011
Shareif Ziyadat/ABC

On a quiet Thanksgiving evening, specials, movies and repeats ruled the roost on Thursday evening.

The highest-profile program airing on primetime was Lady Gaga's much-anticipated (and hyped) 90-minute Thanksgiving special, which the singer conceived and directed herself.

Featuring a slew of performances (one with Tony Bennett) and an interview wtih Katie Couric, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving (5.5 million total viewers, 1.6 rating in adults 18-49 demographic) proved to be beneficial for ABC, boosting the network's time period performance from last year (when it aired a Beyonce music special) by 23 percent in the core adults 18-49 demo and drew more than 1 million more viewers. The 90-minute special helped ABC post its best Thanksgiving ratings since 2007. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving drew slightly more viewers at 8 p.m., luring 5.7 million and averaging a higher 1.8 rating.

But, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving was not the highest-rated or most-watched program of the night. That honor goes to CBS, which dominates even with reruns of top-rated and most-watched The Big Bang Theory (11.2 million, 3.6) and Rules of Engagement (7.9 million, 2.4). An encore of Person of Interest (8 million, 1.7) topped the 9 p.m. hour and a rerun of The Mentalist (7.8 million, 1.5) also helped the network win in the demo (2.1) and total viewers (8.4 million).

Fox followed CBS in the demo with a 1.7 demo average. ABC placed third with a 1.6 in primetime. NBC, airing Horton Hears a Who (3.7 million, 1.1), placed fourth. The CW followed.