Here are the first ten programs from the twenty-sixth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, March 5th, 1973 through Sunday, March 11th, 1973. There were a total of 62 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on March 21st, 1973. Once again All in the Family was the highest-rated program of the week. Both the ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week (The Letters) and the ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week ranked in the Top Ten (The Six Million Dollar Man). This was the first of three pilot telefilms for The Six Million Dollar Man that led to a weekly series.
CBS won the week with an average 20.6 Nielsen rating (down from a 21.0 rating the previous week), followed by ABC with a 17.6 rating (down from a 17.7 rating) and NBC was a poor third with a 16.4 rating (down from an 18.2 rating). The 4.2 point gap between CBS and NBC was the largest since September of 1964. ABC’s second-place performance came despite its three-hour broadcast of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which ranked dead last with a 6.5 Nielsen rating. Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:
|1.||All in the Family||CBS||33.2|
|2.||Sanford and Son||NBC||29.9|
|5.||The Bob Newhart Show||CBS||26.5|
|6.||The Carol Burnett Show||CBS||25.7|
|7.||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||CBS||25.5|
|9.||ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week||ABC||24.4|
|10.||ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week||ABC||23.8|
Unfortunately, I don’t have the Nielsen shares of the audience for the bulk of the programs broadcast this week (The Los Angeles Times didn’t publish them past the 13th program) so I won’t be analyzing an entire night’s programming the way I typically do. Instead, I’ll just note some of the other programs of interest broadcast during the week. As The Los Angeles Times noted, it was a very poor week for television specials. A Bob Hope special, featuring Phil Harris, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain, broadcast on Wednesday, March 7th from 8:30-9:30PM, ranked 25th for the week with 21.3 rating. It was followed by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring Kirk Douglas as Jekyll and Hyde, which ranked 57th with a 9.2 rating.
“There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown,” broadcast by CBS on Sunday, March 11th from 7:30-8PM, ranked 31st with a 19.9 rating. ABC broadcast two hour-long pilots as part of The ABC Sunday Night Movie on Sunday, March 11th from 9-11. The first, Harry-O with David Jennsen, would premiere as a weekly series in the fall of 1974. The second, Intertect with Stuart Whitman, was not picked up. The broadcast ranked 44th with a 17.3 rating. The CBS Friday Movie (The Cincinnati Kid), a hasty replacement for Joseph’s Papp’s production of Sticks and Bones, ranked 52nd with a 14.4 rating. Sticks and Bones, a television version of David Rabe’s play, was a story about Vietnam and CBS decided against airing it at the last minute. It would eventually be broadcast in August of 1973.
“Arnold Palmer, American Legend,” an NBC special broadcast from 10-11PM on Friday, March 9th, ranked 58th with an 8.3 rating. CBS Reports ranked 59th with an identical 8.3 rating, followed by The NBC Tuesday Movie (The President’s Analyzt) with a 7.7 rating and NBC’s First Tuesday with a 7.6 rating.
ABC’s aforementioned Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which ran from 8-11PM on Saturday, March 10th, was last with a 6.5 Nielsen rating. It was butchered by the powerful CBS line-up. NBC did marginally better that evening. Emergency! ranked 26th with a 21.9 rating while The NBC Saturday Night Movie (Topkapi) ranked 54th with a 13.3 rating. For the evening as a whole, CBS averaged a 26.4 Nielsen rating, NBC a 16.2 rating and ABC a 6.5 rating. The three networks together averaged a 49.1 rating. The previous week, the networks averaged a 55.1 Nielsen rating on Saturday, March 3rd.