Here are the first ten programs from the seventeenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, January 1st, 1973 through Sunday, January 7th. If you’ve been paying close attention you’ll notice that the fifteenth week ran from December 18th to December 24th. So where’s the missing week? It was a Nielsen “black week,” which meant readings weren’t recorded. You can read more about black weeks here.
There were a total of 62 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on January 22nd, 1973. Not a single movie night or special was able to crack the Top Ten, unless you count McCloud, a segment of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. The week was topped by All in the Family on CBS. For the week as a whole, CBS averaged a 21.0 rating, NBC was just a hair behind with a 20.8 rating and ABC brought up the rear with a 17.5 rating.
Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:
|1.||All in the Family||CBS||35.4|
|2.||Sanford & Son||CBS||29.5|
|6.||NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (McCloud)||NBC||26.0|
|7.||Bridget Loves Bernie||CBS||25.8|
|9.||The Flip Wilson Show||NBC||24.6|
Here’s how the networks fared on Thursday, January 4th. ABC aired The Mod Squad, The Men and Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law. CBS broadcast The Waltons and The CBS Thursday Movie, which was the first half of The Sand Pebbles. NBC filled its schedule with The Flip Wilson Show, Ironside and The Dean Martin Show.
|8:00PM||17.4/26 (avg)||18.9/29 (avg)||19.5/30 (avg)|
|9:00PM||11.2/17 (avg)||18.5/30 (avg)||29.2/45 (avg)|
|10:00PM||17.7/30 (avg)||18.5/30||17.9/30 (avg)|
NBC easily won the night. But The Dean Martin Show squandered its Ironside lead-in, dropping from a huge 29.2 Nielsen rating to a second-place 17.9 rating. That put it barely ahead of ABC’s Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, which was able to capitalize on NBC’s weakness and grow nicely out of The Men (which ranked 61st out of 62 programs for the week). Had The Men averaged around a 17.0 Nielsen rating it would have allowed ABC to rank a competitive third for the evening.
For the record, the second half of The Sand Pebbles, broadcast as part of The CBS Friday Movie, managed to perform slightly better than the first half, with a 19.0/30 Nielsen rating, placing it 33rd out of 62 programs for the week, compared to the 18.5/30 for the first half, which placed it 38th.
“Family, Sanford top National Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Jan. 1972: F16.