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TV’s Yule Log

(allysonk@Flickr)

It started as a special treat in New York City on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Channel 11 in New York, began the tradition of a televised Yule Log back in 1966. The station’s general manager loved Christmas. Because he grew up in a home that had a fireplace, he always associated its warmth with Christmas, but with all the crowded apartments in New York, fireplaces were hard to come by.

So he devised the idea of a televised fireplace – the Yule Log. It would burn continuously accompanied by Christmas music. It also allowed a large number of TV station employees to take the day off. It was a tradition that continued from 1966 to 1989 when the station decided that for financial reasons the tradition would come to an end.

And the Yule Log remained off the air until 2001 when after an intense e-mail campaign, Channel 11 decided to bring back the Yule Log.

It was only for two hours from 8 to 10 on Christmas morning in 2001 and it was a ratings hit – beating ABC’s Good Morning America by almost 80,000 viewers.

Expanded to four hours in 2002, The Yule Log has won its time slot each year since returning and in 2004 it was seen nationally on Chicago’s Superstation WGN.

And the Yule Log will be back again this year on a number of stations across the country – commercial free.

 

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