Nielsen Top Ten, February 19th – February 25th, 1973

Here are the first ten programs from the twenty-fourth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, February 19th, 1973 through Sunday, February 25th, 1973. There were a total of 62 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on March 7th, 1973. All in the Family on CBS was once again the most-watched program for the week, with NBC’s Sanford and Son in second place. Three specials rounded out the top five: “Highlights of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus” (NBC, 7:30-8:30PM, Sunday, February 25th) “Country Music Hit Parade” (NBC, 8:30-9:30PM, Sunday, February 25th) and “Ed Sullivan Presents the TV Comedy Years (CBS, 9:30-11PM, Tuesday, February 20th).

Two movie nights were also in the Top Ten: NBC Saturday Night at the Movies (I Walk the Line) and The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week (A Brand New Life). CBS won the week with an average 19.9 Nielsen rating, followed by NBC with a 19.2 rating and ABC with a 17.7 rating. Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 31.2
2. Sanford and Son NBC 28.9
3. “Highlights of Ringling/Barnum Circus” NBC 27.4
4. “Country Music Hit Parade” NBC 26.8
5. “Television Comedy Years” CBS 24.5
6. Barnaby Jones CBS 24.4
7. The Flip Wilson Show NBC 24.1
8. NBC Saturday Night at the Movies NBC 23.7
9. The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week ABC 23.6
10. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 23.5

And here are the five lowest-rated programs of the week:

## Program Net Rating
60. The Bobby Darin Show NBC 11.0
61. Touch of Grace ABC 10.6
62. The Julie Andrews Hour ABC  8.1
63. The Men (Jigsaw) ABC  7.4
64. Here We Go Again ABC  5.8

Here We Go Again had a 9% share of the audience. That would be considered mediocre even by today’s standards, let alone 1973.

Here’s how the networks fared on Thursday, February 22nd. ABC aired The Mod Squad, Kung Fu and The Streets of San Francisco. CBS broadcast The Waltons and The CBS Thursday Movie (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). NBC filled its schedule with The Flip Wilson Show, Ironside and The Dean Martin Show.

Time ABC CBS NBC
 8:00PM 15.3/23 (avg) 22.8/34 (avg) 24.1/36 (avg)
 8:30PM 15.3/23 22.8/34 24.1/36
 9:00PM 19.2/29 (avg) 18.2/32 (avg) 22.7/34 (avg)
 9:30PM 19.2/29 18.2/32 22.7/34
10:00PM 17.9/30 (avg) 18.2/32 16.4/29 (avg)
10:30PM 17.9/30 18.2/32 16.4/29
       
Average 17.5/27 19.7/32 16.4/29

Notice that despite losing the 10-11PM hour NBC was still able to win the night by a comfortable margin. Furthermore, even though it performed relatively poorly in the Nielsen ratings The Dean Martin Show would stay on the air until May of 1974.

Source:

“Bunkers and Sanfords Top Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Mar. 1973: F18.

7 Comments

  • pBOB says:

    Any reason why The Dean Martin Show was able to survive while some shows today are canceled after one airing?

  • RGJ says:

    It may have been profitable for NBC, even with the mediocre ratings. Or perhaps NBC had a deal with Dean Martin and/or the production company behind the show. It was one of countless shows that was not a hit — although it was a hit for several years — but not an outright failure, either.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    It was probably because Dean’s ratings were “dependable”, and his sponsors [including Colgate-Palmolive] liked the kind of audience he was attracting, that kept him on (and maybe producer Greg Garrison’s deal, along with Dean’s contract, with NBC was a major factor as well). Unfortunately, the audience DID begin to slip away around this period, so the series was slightly revamped the following season as “THE DEAN MARTIN COMEDY HOUR”…

  • pBOB says:

    Was Dean still doing his “roasts” at this point or was that discontinued during his last season?

  • DuMont says:

    That fifth-ranked CBS broadcast was a special ‘Ed Sullivan’s TV Comedy Years’ on Tuesday night, which garnered a towering 24.5HH/40%. The high Nielsen reflected the huge reservoir of affection for the man who had his long-running and still highly-rated Sunday variety skein cancelled by the Eye just a few years earlier.

    Another notable program was the February Sweep broadcast of PAINT YOUR WAGON on ‘The ABC Sunday Night Movie’, which garnered a splendid 20.7HH/38%, a nice surprise for ABC as it was widely thought that musical theatricals were sure ratings losers (excepting THE WIZARD OF OZ, of course). As a result of this perception, whenever musicals were picked up within studio packages, they tended to usually get airplay in non-Sweep months or summer season.

    Finally, it was just heartbreaking for me to see the tiny Neilsens generated by ‘The Julie Andrews Hour’, which though only getting a 8.1HH rating, had a media campaign underway by the producers highlighting the critical raves, which would later shift gears to focus on the large number of Emmy nominations that were bestowed upon the series. At the same time, there was also a well-organized viewer letter-writing effort underway to persuade ABC to renew the series and get all noisy at any ABC affiliates that dared to pre-empt the series.

    ‘The Julie Andrews Hour’ had started on Wednesdays at 10 pm, before getting moved to Saturdays at 9 pm (replacing ‘Streets of San Francisco’ which got moved to Thursdays). ‘The Julie Andrews Hour’ finished the season with a 12.2HH average, and got cancelled, while ABC renewed ‘Streets of San Francisco’ which benefited hugely by the move to Thursday nights and eked out a survival-level season average 15.5HH. To a certain degree, Miss Andrews saved Mr. Karl Malden’s series by taking over his troubled time period and becoming the sacrificial lamb up against the killer CBS comedy block. If I had to give my top five series of all time in most need of a DVD release, ‘The Julie Andrews Hour’ would be high on that list.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    On the contrary, ‘pBOB”, Dean’s “roasts” became a cruical part of the final season of his weekly series. Of course, they were the most watched, and that’s NBC wanted after they cancelled his show in 1974. So he did those as occasional specials for about the next 15 years or so…

  • Jim says:

    It’s interesting to see how “The Waltons” gets closer and closer to Flip Wilson in the ratings as the season goes on. I think at least some of this had to do with the fact that, after its first season, “The Flip Wilson Show” just wasn’t very good. It was great in its first year but something happened after that… I don’t know if it was different writers, or if Flip was losing interest, but I can remember watching some episodes and hardly laughing at all the entire hour. This may have led viewers to try something else during that time slot, and the ones who tried “The Waltons” liked it and kept watching it.

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