December 28, 2001

"Yule Log" king of Christmas shows

NEW YORK (AP) -- The calls would come in every year to New York television station WPIX, right around Christmas time. Where's the log? Why aren't you bringing back the log?

One devoted fan even put up a "Bring Back the Log" Web site.

This year, the station gave in.

After a 12-year hiatus, WPIX brought back an old New York holiday favorite, the "Yule Log" show on Christmas morning. The idea couldn't be more simple -- show logs burning in a fireplace for two hours while Christmas carols play in the background.

Wait, it gets better: This year, "Yule Log" smoked the competition. New Yorkers were so thrilled that the show was back that "Yule Log" won the highest Nielsen rating for that time slot, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Christmas morning.

"This is really a New York television tradition," says Betty Ellen Berlamino, general manager of WPIX. "With everything that's going on, people are in to the comfort television mode."

WPIX broadcast the "Yule Log" show for 23 years at Christmas time, then took it off the air in 1989 in favor of traditional Christmas programming. Now it's here to stay.

Berlamino said she was at a bit of a loss to explain the appeal of watching the log, saying that many people just find it "mesmerizing."