Nielsen Top 10, November 27th – December 3rd, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the twelfth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, November 27th, 1972 through Sunday, December 3rd, 1972. There were a total of 61 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on December 13th, 1972. All in the Family was once again in the top spot as were two other programs produced by Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear: Sanford and Son was second and Maude seventh. CBS was first for the week with an average 19.9 rating (down from a 20.4 rating), NBC second with an 18.4 (down from an 18.6 rating) and ABC third with a 17.5 (down from an 18.9 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 34.9
2. Sanford & Son CBS 26.6
3. Cannon CBS 26.5
4. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 26.5
5. The NBC Mystery Movie (McCloud) NBC 26.2
6. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 25.2
7. Maude CBS 24.5
8. The Flip Wilson Show NBC 24.4
9. Hawaii Five-O NBC 24.1
10. Gunsmoke CBS 23.9

Here’s ABC’s flow of the audience for Monday, December 27th, when it aired The Rookies and Monday Night Football:

Time Program Rating
 8:00PM The Rookies (avg) 17.6/26
 8:30PM The Rookies (avg) 17.6/26
 9:00PM Monday Night Football (avg) 22.0/36
 9:30PM Monday Night Football (avg) 22.0/36
10:00PM Monday Night Football (avg) 22.0/36
10:30PM Monday Night Football (avg) 22.0/36

Football built nicely on The Rookies. Here’s the flow of the audience for CBS on Sunday, December 3rd, when it aired “House Without a Christmas Tree,” The New Dick Van Dyke Show and Mannix (the network returned the 10:30-11PM half-hour to its affiliates):

Time Program Rating
 7:30PM House Without a Christmas Tree (avg) 21.2/32
 8:00PM House Without a Christmas Tree (avg) 21.2/32
 8:30PM House Without a Christmas Tree (avg) 21.2/32
 9:00PM The New Dick Van Dyke Show 18.8/28
 9:30PM Mannix (avg) 17.5/27
10:00PM Mannix (avg) 17.5/27

The network started off strong and became progressively weaker as the evening progressed. Finally, here’s NBC’s flow of the audience for Thursday, November 30th, when it aired The Flip Wilson Show, Ironside and The Dean Martin Show:

Time Program Rating
 8:00PM The Flip Wilson Show (avg) 24.4/36
 8:30PM The Flip Wilson Show (avg) 24.4/36
 9:00PM Ironside (avg) 23.0/35
 9:30PM Ironside (avg) 23.0/35
10:00PM The Dean Martin Show(avg) 14.6/25
10:30PM The Dean Martin Show (avg) 14.6/25

The Flip Wilson Show and Ironside performed strongly for the network but The Dean Martin Show lost a huge portion of its lead-in and ranked third in its time slot (it was beaten by ABC’s Owen Marshall–Counselor at Law and the last half of Bandolero on CBS).


“Yorkin-Lear Shows Top TV Ratings.” Los Angeles Times. 13 Dec. 1972: C32.

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9 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, November 27th – December 3rd, 1972”

  1. I’m sure the numbers would bear out why OWEN MARSHALL was cancelled, but it seems odd that such a popular show would never be seen again in syndication. It would be interesting to see it added to RTV.

  2. @Chuck…it is on RTV under ‘The Bold Ones’ umbrella, I believe it’s on Saturdays late in the afternoon (at least here in Cleveland Ohio it is)

  3. No. That is the segment of THE BOLD ONES entitled THE LAWYERS. While somewhat similar in format, OWEN MARSHALL: COUNSELOR AT LAW starred Steven Hill, David Soul, and Lee Majors. It ran for 69 episodes on ABC instead of NBC. It co-existed in the same television universe as MARCUS WELBY M.D. as there were crossovers between the two programmes.

    To my knowledge, OWEN MARSHALL: COUNSELOR AT LAW has not been widely seen in over 30 years. It would be interesting to see again since RTV has rerun every episode it has of THE BOLD ONES at least 10 times now. It makes me wonder if Robert Benevides gets any residuals from that.

  4. “the network returned the 10:30-11PM half-hour to its affiliates”

    Wow, I didn’t remember CBS doing that. Strange for CBS to give up a half hour of “prime” prime time while the other networks aired to 11pm eastern time.

  5. During the 1972-1973 season CBS and NBC both returned the 10:30-11PM half-hour in order to begin broadcasting at 7:30PM on Sundays. ABC, on the other hand, started its Sunday schedule at 8PM and thus could run until 11PM. This was due to the FCC’s prime time rule that stated the networks could only broadcast during three hours of prime time (7-11PM on the East Coast).

    During the 1971-1972 season, when the prime time access rule was first introduced, both ABC and NBC were returning half-hours to their affiliates. NBC was able to get permission to program from 7:30-11PM on Sundays by giving up a half-hour somewhere else; ABC did the same thing on Tuesdays.

    To better compete with ABC, both NBC and CBS decided to program from 7:30-10:30PM on Tuesdays, returning the 10:30-11PM half-hour. And CBS, hoping to compete with NBC on Sundays, gave up the 10:30-11PM half-hour so it could begin at 7:30PM.

    In return for the extra half-hour on Sundays, NBC gave back the 10:30-11PM half-hour on Fridays. As for ABC, in order to keep its Tuesday schedule intact, the network decided to give up the 8:30-9PM half-hour on Mondays! So, it broadcast Nanny and the Professor from 8-8:30PM, took the next half-hour off, and then returned at 9PM for Monday Night Football.

    For the 1973-1974 season, all three networks were programming from 7:30-10:30PM on Sundays. And the FCC relaxed the prime time access rule shortly thereafter, allowing the networks to program for four hours on Sundays.

    That’s probably a lot more than you ever wanted to know, now that I think about it.

  6. “That’s probably a lot more than you ever wanted to know, now that I think about it”

    The more the better. I love learning something new about televisions heyday.

    Thanks again RGJ.

  7. You mean ‘Arthur Hill’ in Owen Marshall (steve did the 1st year of Mission Impossible and later Law and Order). As a fellow Canadian, I recall watching OM:CAL in syndication up here in the late 70s. It was a darn good show.

  8. This was the week that Maude the famous Maude’s Dilemma second part where Maude decides to have an abortion. I always thought there was a bit of a backlash to that episode but it seemed to rate well.

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