Nielsen Top 10, March 19th – March 25th, 1973

Here are the first ten programs from the twenty-eighth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, March 19th, 1973 through Sunday, March 25th, 1973. Unfortunately, I only have the Top Ten without the Nielsen ratings for this week, courtesy of an April 4th, 1973 article in The Hartford Courant [1]. The article pointed out that Bridget Loves Bernie, canceled by CBS the previous week, was tied for sixth.

Here’s the Top Ten::

## Program Net
1. All in the Family CBS
2. The NBC Mystery Movie (Columbo) NBC
3. Sanford & Son NBC
4. Ironside NBC
5. Maude CBS
6. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS
  Cannon CBS
8. The Wonderful World of Disney NBC
9. Adam-12 NBC
10. The Flip Wilson Show NBC

Genesis II, broadcast by CBS on Friday, March 23rd, tied for 18th with ABC’s The Rookies. The telefilm, written by Gene Roddenberry, was reworked as Planet Earth in 1974 and Strange New World in 1975, the latter without Roddenberry’s involvement. Both Genesis II and Planet Earth were released on DVD through WB’s Warner Archive program in October of 2009.


“The Bunkers and CBS Top Nielsen Poll.” Los Angeles Times. 28 Mar. 1973: 31.

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8 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, March 19th – March 25th, 1973”

  1. There was a whole slew of backdoors and pilots that aired during Week 28, just days ahead of the networks releasing their 1973-74 fall skeds and wanting to road-test a few more pilots with viewers:

    POLICE STORY: SLOW BOY (NBC) 15.9HH/25% -> Although this backdoor for the long-running NBC anthology series didn’t set the Nielsen meters abuzz, it did generate good critical buzz and NBC picked it up to series. Over its five seasons, ‘Police Story’ generated a host of backdoor spinoffs, three of which went to series: ‘Police Woman’, ‘Joe Forrester’, and ‘David Cassidy – Man Undercover’. Producer David Gerber Productions also carried over the anthology format to its 1975 ‘Medical Story’ series, and NBC also picked up yet another anthologier, ‘Love Story’, from Paramount, which debuted the same season as ‘Police Story’.

    TOMA (ABC) 19.4HH/31% -> Toma was the start of quite a journey, getting picked up to series, languishing in a few timeslots, and then running into difficulties when its reluctant star, Mr. Tony Musante, declined to star in a second season. ABC rather liked the gritty undercover cop angle, and commissioned a re-boot of the series, which was re-concepted and re-titled as ‘Baretta’ and became a modest hit for ABC.

    THE NORLISS TAPES (NBC) 19.6HH/30% -> NBC was quite high on this pilot about a Kolchak-type investigative reporter becoming a bit of a vampire hunter. ABC had aired THE NIGHT STALKER a year earlier to stratospheric ratings, and NBC came pretty close to doing a series based on that concept (it would take another year of development before ABC would debut ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’).

    TOM SAWYER (CBS) 18.9HH/31% -> This small-coin Universal pilot (filmed in Canada), which had cast a pre-‘Barnaby Jones’ Mr. Buddy Ebsen in a supporting townie role, suffered a bit from comparisons to the big-budget theatrical musical TOM SAWYER, which had been released just a week earlier and went on to cop several Oscar nominations. It might have made an interesting series for Saturday kidvid, but wasn’t picked up.

    GENESIS II (CBS) 20.5HH/37% -> As stated in the above article by RGJ, this pilot was penned by Mr. Gene Roddenberry. This pilot rated well on two airings, and I’m not certain why CBS didn’t pick it up someone senior at CBS wanted ‘Planet of the Apes’ instead . It might have been due to Mr. Roddenberry presenting a rather complicated story bible. The series started with the death of the protagonist, who is catapulted forward in a twisty-turnsy time travel story. Apparently, Mr. Roddenberry penned a few dozen scripts and story outlines, and it would be sweet to see some network executive in the present greenlight this delightful backdoor from the past, just to provide satisfaction for all the faithful Roddenberrytes, of which I am one. Given the wide-open story parameters, a clever writer might even find a way to cast Mr. Alex Cord and Miss Mariette Hartley to reprise their original roles, casting a backward view of the past from far in the future. How on earth this story could have been viewed as more complicated than the time-loopy canon of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise is beyond me.

    PARNTERS IN CRIME (NBC) 18.9HH/35% -> NBC was quite keen on this series, which would have starred the elegant Miss Lee Grant as a retired judge who opens a shingle for a private eye agency. NBC passed on the well-rated backdoor, but picked up the wickedly funny ‘Fay’ starring Miss Grant a few seasons later. One of the more vibrant obscure sitcoms of ’70s television, ‘Fay’ is desperately in need of a DVD release as NBC never got around to airing all the episodes produced.

    CHASE (NBC) 18.3HH/31% -> NBC liked better the second half of their double-feature, an actioner from the Mark VII Ltd house of Mr. Jack Webb, and was penned by Mr. Stephen J. Cannell, and it featured all sorts of chases over land, air and sea. To my knowledge, it shares nothing other than title with NBC’s new ‘Chase’ series, which is about marshalls chasing fugitives and is from Mr. Bruckenheimer.

  2. Shouldn’t BARETTA be considered more of a spinoff of TOMA?

    Didn’t NBC reboot the PARTNERS IN CRIME movie with Loni Anderson and Lydia Carter sometime in the 80s post WKRP in Cincinnati and Wonder Woman?

  3. pB Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 7:30PM
    Shouldn’t BARETTA be considered more of a spinoff of TOMA?

    Spinoff might be stretching things a bit. I think it really was a re-imagining, with ‘Baretta’ being more of a conception of Mr. Stephen J. Cannell, based on his imagining of the life of an undercover detective with a flair for unique disguises.

    My memory is that the reason for the ‘Baretta’ re-concepting was that they no longer wanted to base the series on the life of Mr. David Toma, the real life New Jersey undercover cop, who was involved in the ‘Toma’ production.

    When the new series debuted, the producers and network went to great lengths to distance ‘Baretta’, the brooding loner, from ‘Toma’, the family man copper.

  4. pB Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 7:30PM

    Didn’t NBC reboot the PARTNERS IN CRIME movie with Loni Anderson and Lydia Carter sometime in the 80s post WKRP in Cincinnati and Wonder Woman?

    The backdoor PARTNERS IN CRIME differed significantly from the ‘Partners in Crime’ series in a number of respects…writers, producers and concept too. The only thing shared was that they were both in the detective genre and they shared the same title.

  5. RGJ Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 10:03PM
    You can read all about how Toma led to Baretta in my article about Toma.

    I’m surprised that ABC didn’t pick up a second season of ‘Toma’ in the 10×60 or 6×90 as contracted with Mr. Musante. They could have used those 90-minute movies in one of their ‘Movie of the Week’ franchises, or used the 10-episode series two as a second or third season replacement.

    Reading between the lines, one may surmise that everyone had just had enough of dealing with the real Mr. Toma.

  6. It sounded like Tony Musante wanted ABC to start up a mystery/action wheel like they eventually did in the 80’s with Burt Reynolds headlining.

    If I remember correctly the last season of Rockford was a bunch of TV movies so Musante’s deal could’ve worked.

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