Nielsen Top Ten, November 13th, 1955 – November 26th, 1955

Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period covering Sunday, November 13th through Saturday, November 26th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating. Note that scripted, weekly series hold three of the top spots on both lists, with I Love Lucy and December Bride appearing on both with Dragnet appearing on the households list and Private Secretary on the rating list. Private Secretary and The Jack Benny Show alternated the 7:30-8PM time slot on CBS; during this two-week period Private Secretary aired on Sunday, November 13th and The Jack Benny Show on Sunday, November 20th. That makes this list a perfect example of the problem inherent averaging two week’s worth of ratings information. It is possible, for example, that one of the two episodes of I Love Lucy actually rated higher than $64,000 Question during this two-week period. But because ratings for series that aired episodes during both weeks are averaged together, if the other episode was low-rated it would drag down the average.

1.$64,000 QuestionCBS14,963,000
2.I Love LucyCBS14,292,000
3.Jack Benny ShowCBS12,883,000
5.General Electric TheatreCBS11,810,000
6.You Bet Your LifeNBC11,306,000
7.December BrideCBS11,072,000
8.Ed Sullivan ShowCBS11,038,000
9.I’ve Got a SecretCBS10,971,000

##ProgramNetRating (%)
1.$64,000 QuestionCBS46.7
2.I Love LucyCBS44.4
3.Jack Benny ShowCBS40.9
5.General Electric TheatreCBS37.1
6.Ed Sullivan ShowCBS34.7
I’ve Got a SecretCBS34.7
8.You Be Your LifeNBC34.6
9.December BrideCBS34.5
10.Private SecretaryCBS33.1

Note: Prior to July 1960, Nielsen ratings were not based on the total number of television households in the United States. From 1950 to 1953, ratings were a percentage of households in cities/markets in which the program was broadcast. From 1953 to 1960, ratings were a percentage of households capable of viewing a program.


“Latest Ratings: Nielsen.” Broadcasting*Telecasting. 12 Dec. 1955: Page 40.

1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    1) “THE $64,000 QUESTION” [Tuesdays, 10pm(et)]. “You’re right, for $64,000!!!!!”.
    2) “I LOVE LUCY”: “”Face To Face” (11/14/55) {the Ricardos are supposed to appear on a fictional version of “PERSON TO PERSON”, but have a big fight with the Mertzes just before the broadcast};”The Black Wig” [4/19/54] was repeated on November 21st, possibly with a new opening scene {“Remember the time when Lucy wanted to see just how faithful you REALLY are?”/”DO I!??!! Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi….”}
    3)”THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM” offered a live episode on November 21st, featuring Johnny Carson’s first guest appearance on the show (plugging his own low-rated CBS Thursday night comedy/variety program, cancelled the following March), where he gave Jack “constructive criticism” about his style of comedy, including his gestures- “See? You’re staring again!”/”Now listen to me, Mr. Carson..”/”Call me Johnny…”/”I’LL CALL YOU ANYTHING I WANT!!!”.
    4) “DISNEYLAND” [Wednesdays, 7:30pm(et)] presented the first of this season’s follow-up “Davy Crockett” episodes [long before his death at the Alamo] on November 16th: “Dave Crockett’s Keelboat Race” (which was edited, with “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” the following month, into a theatrical feature of the same name the following summer); and on November 23rd, Walt offered the television premiere of a 1952 ‘True-Life Adventure’ featurette, “The Olympic Elk”, followed by behind-the scenes footage of other “True-Life” documentaries “currently in production” {“The African Lion”, “Secrets of Life”}. Disney certainly knew how to “package” his promotional episodes without LOOKING “promotional”…
    5) “GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER” [Sundays, 9pm(et)] presented two filmed episodes, on November 13th {“Farewell to Kennedy”, a police drama starring Alan Ladd}, and the 20th {“Prosper’s Old Mother”, adapted from a Bret Harte story, starring the series’ host, Ronald Reagan, with Ethel Barrymore…and young Charles Bronson}
    6) “YOU BET YOUR LIFE” [Thursdays, 8pm(et)]. “Friends- go in to see your DeSoto-Plymouth dealer tomorrow! And when you do…tell ‘em Groucho sent you!”
    7) What did Ed Sullivan do on November 13th? Merely present Shirley Booth in a scene from her Broadway comedy “The Desk Set” [Katharine Hepburn filled her role in the 1957 Hollywood adaptation], Edith Piaf, Al Hibbler {performing his current hits, “Unchained Melody” and “He”}, English perfomers Arthur Worlsey (ventriloquist) and Joyce Grenfell {comedienne}, Eddie Arcaro & Earl Sande (receiving “Jockey Hall of Fame” awards), and the Purdue University Glee Club. On the 20th, Sullivan made rock history by presenting Bo Diddley, LaVern Baker and The Five Keys [from “Dr. Jive’s Rhythm & Blues Revue”, appearing at the Apollo Theater], Ted Lewis {“Is EVERYBODY happy?”}, Jack Carter, Caesari Siepe from the Metropolitan Opera, an excerpt from Jack Palance’s current theatrical movie, “The Big Knife”…and several “novelty acts” too numerous to mention here…
    8) “I’VE GOT A SECRET” [Wednesdays. 9:30pm(et)]. “America’s #1 panel show”. Who could say WHAT “secrets” Garry Moore and his panel uncovered?
    9) “DRAGNET” [Thursdays, 9pm(et)]. “The Big Bounce” [11/17/55]: Sgt. Friday goes after a man forging checks from a dead man’s bank account; “The Big Shot” [11/24/55]: Friday and Officer Smith investigate the murder of a night club manager following a brutal robbery….
    10) “DECEMBER BRIDE” [Mondays, 9:30pm(et)]: “”The Laundromat Show” [11/14/55]- Veteran actor Herbert Marshall guest stars, as Lily Ruskin (Spring Byington) becomes involved with a laundromat; “Skid Row” [11/21/55]- Is Lily “playing the ponies’? Matt and Ruth think so…and two “bums” [Joe Besser, Percy Helton] are also involved….
    11) “PRIVATE SECRETARY”: “The Mid-Town Mardi Gras” [11/13/55]: Suzie [Ann Sothern] and Vi [Ann Tyrell] want Mr. Sands [Don Porter] to escort them to the Mid-Town Mardi Gras, but apparently he’s “too busy” to accomodate them…and Suzie intends to change that!

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