Here are the first ten programs from the eleventh week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, November 20th, 1972 through Sunday, November 26th, 1972. There were a total of 58 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on December 6th, 1972. After two weeks in the runners up position, behind movies True Grit and then Patton, both broadcast by ABC, All in the Family climbed back to the top of the charts this week, with a huge 34.5/54 Nielsen rating. ABC had to settle for second with a repeat of its critically acclaimed made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song, broadcast on November 21st as part of The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week.
Two other movie nights were in the Top Ten: The ABC Wednesday Movie (premiere of the made-for-TV movie All My Darling Daughers, with Robert Young and Eve Arden) and The CBS Thursday Movie (1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Dick Van Dyke). ABC was able to rank second for the week with an 18.9 Nielsen rating (down from a 19.5 the previous week. CBS was first with a 20.4 rating (up from a 20.1 rating) and NBC was third with an 18.6 (down from a 21.2 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:
|1.||All in the Family||ABC||34.5|
|2.||ABC Tuesday Movie||ABC||30.4|
|5.||Sanford & Son||NBC||27.7|
|7.||ABC Wednesday Movie||ABC||25.9|
|9.||CBS Thursday Movie||CBS||25.5|
|10.||Bridget Loves Bernie||CBS||25.4|
Here’s how the networks fared on Friday, November 24th. ABC opened with The Brady Bunch, followed by The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple and Love, American Style. CBS broadcast The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and then The CBS Friday Movie (Live a Little, Love a Little, an Elvis Presley film). NBC opened with Sanford and Son, then The Little People (later The Brian Keith Show), Ghost Story and Banyon.
Time ABC CBS NBC 8:00PM 17.1/25 15.6/26 27.7/46 8:30PM 19.6/32 15.6/26 18.7/31 9:00PM 15.9/27 18.4/31 18.7/31 9:30PM 15.9/27 18.4/31 18.7/31 10:00PM 17.5/32 18.4/31 16.1/29 10:30PM 17.5/32 18.4/31 16.1/29 Average 17.2/29 17.5/29 19.3/33
NBC comfortably but not overwhelmingly won the night with a 19.3 rating and a 33 share. CBS was able to pass ABC for second on the strength of The CBS Friday Movie, averaging a 17.5 rating and a 29 share; ABC had an up-and-down night and averaged a 17.2 rating and a 29 share, meaning CBS and ABC were tied in terms of share of the audience. Interestingly, after losing a huge portion of the audience after Sanford and Son ended at 8:30PM, NBC was able to hold steady until 10PM; Ghost Story retained all of its The Little People lead-in. The Little People would return the following season while both Ghost Story and Banyon were canned at the end of the 1972-1973 season.
Despite facing ABC’s repeat of Brian’s Song on Tuesday, November 21st, CBS was able to stay very competitive with Hawaii Five-O and the first half-hour of The CBS Tuesday Night Movie (Gargoyles). NBC, which filled all three hours of prime time with West Side Story, had to settle for a weak third. Here are the ratings for the 8:30-10PM period:
Time ABC CBS NBC 8:30PM 30.4/43 27.7/39 11.4/17 9:00PM 30.4/43 27.7/39 11.4/17 9:30PM 30.4/43 19.5/32 11.4/17 Average 30.4/43 25.0/37 11.4/17
Based solely on these average ratings rather than half-hour or quarterly breakdowns, 66.8% of all television households were watching the networks during this period; an astounding 97% of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into either ABC, CBS or NBC.