National Nielsen, Videodex and Pulse Ratings, April 1950

A May 31st, 1950 article in The Chicago Daily Tribune offers a wonderful opportunity to compare three television rating services on a national level. As always, the article doesn’t indicate the period these figures cover but the inclusion of a Bob Hope special (his very first, actually) titled “Star-Spangled Revue” means they date back at least to Sunday, April 9th. The three charts, from Nielsen, Videodex and The Pulse, Inc. are introduced as “the latest comparative ratings for the top 10 TV shows, according to three national polling organizations.” Milton Berle topped all three.

Nielsen Top 10

##ProgramRating
1.Texaco Star Theater (The Milton Berle Show)77.7
2.Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts70.6
3.Star Spangled Revue (Bob Hope Special)57.6
4.Arthur Godfrey and Friends57.4
5.Toast of the Town55.1
6.Stop the Music (first half)51.6
7.Stop the Music (second half)48.6
8.Cavalcade of Sports45.1
9.Lone Ranger44.8
10.Television Playhouse44.5

Videodex Top 10

##ProgramRating
1.Texaco Star Theatre (The Milton Berle Show)65.3
2.Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts53.5
3.Arthur Godfrey and Friends47.8
4.Toast of the Town44.6
5.Stop the Music39.5
6.Fireside Theater38.9
7.Television Theater38.8
9.TV Playhouse36.5
10.Martin Kane36.0
 Lights Out36.0

The Pulse, Inc. Top 10

##ProgramRating
1.Texaco Star Theater (The Milton Berle Show)55.2
2.Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts42.6
3.Arthur Godfrey and Friends40.8
4.Toast of the Ton40.2
5.Stop the Music34.5
6.The Goldbergs33.0
7.Television Theater31.8
8.Saturday Night Revue31.6
9.Fireside Theater29.3
10.Studio One28.2

I’m not sure why Nielsen split Face the Music in half, nor can I say exactly how many cities or television households were counted by the three companies.

Sources:
“Bob Hope Grabs Top Rung in 20 TV Appearance.” Chicago Daily Tribune. 31 May 1950: 16.

2 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “STAR SPANGLED REVUE” was Bob Hope’s first national TV special, telecast on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950 from 5:30-7pm(et) over NBC [for General Motors' Frigidaire division; a kinescope of the show is worth checking out]- and viewers definitely wanted to see what “ol’ ski nose” (and his guests, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Dinah Shore) would do on the small screen…it was successful enough for Hope to headline a follow-up special (this time, featuring Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee) a month later, on May 27th; then, he KNEW television was going to be his future, yet continued his weekly radio show until April 1955.

    The rest of the “Top Ten” shows are variations of what I’ve said before- CBS and NBC (and to a lesser extent, ABC) were already “carving out” blocks of time on various evenings, capitalizing on their top-rated shows on those nights-

    CBS, Sundays
    “TOAST OF THE TOWN” [Ed Sullivan] 8-9pm(et)
    NBC, Sundays
    “PHILCO TELEVISION PLAYHOUSE” 9-10pm
    CBS, Mondays
    “ARTHUR GODFREY’S TALENT SCOUTS” 8:30-9pm
    “THE GOLDBERGS” 9:30-10pm
    “WESTINGHOUSE STUDIO ONE” 10-11pm
    NBC, Mondays
    “LIGHTS OUT” 9-9:30pm
    NBC, Tuesdays
    “TEXACO STAR THEATER” [Milton Berle] 8-9pm
    “FIRESIDE THEATER’ 9-9:30pm
    CBS, Wednesdays
    “ARTHUR GODFREY AND HIS FRIENDS” 8-9pm
    NBC, Wednesdays
    “KRAFT TELEVISION THEATER” 9-10pm
    ABC, Thursdays
    “THE LONE RANGER” 7:30-8pm
    “STOP THE MUSIC” 8-9pm
    NBC, Thursdays
    “MARTIN KANE, PRIVATE EYE” 9:30-10pm
    NBC, Fridays
    “GILLETTE CAVALCADE OF SPORTS” 10-11pm
    {“The Friday Night Fights”}
    NBC, Saturdays
    “SATURDAY NIGHT REVUE” 8-9pm
    (just before “YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS”)

  • RGJ says:

    You can watch the first “Star Spangled Revue” at the online Museum of Broadcasting Communications Archives, although you’ll need to register (which is free).

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