Nielsen Top Ten, December 5th, 1966 – December 18th, 1966

Here are the first ten programs from the seventh Nielsen Television Index (NTI) report for the 1966-1967 television season, covering the thirteenth and fourteenth weeks of the season, from Monday, December 5th, 1966 through Sunday, December 18th, 1966. They were published in the January 9th, 1967 edition of Broadcasting [1]. Note that the Nielsen ratings are the average of both week’s programming except in the case of special programming or pre-emptions.

With the holiday season gearing up, these two weeks were filled with quite a few specials. None of them, however, could knock NBC’s Bonanza off the top spot. On Sunday, December 11th, Bonanza was pre-empted by a Danny Thomas special titled “The Wonderful World of Burlesque” with Carol Channing, Mickey Rooney and others. It ranked third. A CBS repeat of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” also broadcast on Sunday, December 11th, was second (it was broadcast outside of prime time, from 7-7:30PM).

Fourth was a Frank Sinatra special, “A Man and His Music Part II,” aired by CBS on Wednesday, December 7th. The inaugural broadcast of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by CBS on Sunday, December 18th was fifth. It, too, was aired outside of prime time. The two installments of NBC’s Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color were “Joker, the Amiable Ocelot” (on Sunday, December 11th) and “Disneyland Around the Seasons” (on Sunday, December 18th). And the installments of The NBC Tuesday Movie were The Bridges at Toko-Ri (on December 6th) and Omar Khayyam (on December 13th).

##ProgramNetRating
1.Bonanza*NBC34.3
2A Charlie Brown Christmas (Special)CBS33.6
3.The Danny Thomas Show (Special)CBS32.7
4.The Frank Sinatra Show (Special)CBS29.4
5.The Red Skelton ShowCBS27.5
6.How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Special)NBC26.9
7.Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of DisneyNBC26.1
8.The Andy Griffith ShowCBS25.8
9.The Beverly HillbilliesCBS25.7
10.The NBC Tuesday MovieNBC25.2
*Broadcast one week only

Sources: 1 “NBC-TV Leads Another Nielsen Report.” Broadcasting. 9 Jan. 1967: 64.

3 Comments

  • Tom says:

    It is interesting that years later, despite the introduction of new media, we are still using more or less the same TV ratings system.There is a generation of people that is not being captured by these traditional ratings. For example the hottest non College Basketball show that social media users were watching last night was “Dollhouse” on FOX. I have created Twielsen, http://twielsen.com , a TV show rating system based on social media chatter that captures the TV watching habits of the new generation. Since http://twielsen.com is a real time system, people can use it to find out the shows to watch for the night by checking out the hottest shows on TV “right now”.

  • RGJ says:

    The way I understand it, Nielsen has been expanding its viewer tracking into new media — DVRs, streaming video online, paid downloads — or at least there are ways for the networks to track such information. The issue is that, as of yet, such viewing is still quite small and advertisers aren’t interested in paying for it.

    Of course, there have been complaints about Nielsen since at least the 1960s but it is still the ratings system of choice.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    The December 18th episode of “WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR” was special in more ways than one- it became a “living memorial” to Walt, as he died of lung cancer just three days before it aired. His original opening monologue was deleted, as various celebrities associated with Disney and NBC {among them, Chet Huntley and Dick Van Dyke} paid tribute to him before “Disneyland Around the Seasons” appeared, as scheduled. Very sad, yet what better way to honor his memory than allowing the presentation of a “promotional travelogue” involving the ONE thing he put so much time and effort into (and was most proud of creating), during his final years?

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