Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period running 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, 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 why averaging two week’s worth of ratings information may not accurately reflect what was being watched.
It is possible that one of the two episodes of I Love Lucy actually rated lower than Private Secretary during this two-week period. But because ratings for two episodes of I Love Lucy were averaged together, if the other episode was exceptionally high-rated the average rating would be higher than Private Secretary.
|Number of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||I Love Lucy||CBS||14,292,000|
|3.||Jack Benny Show||CBS||12,883,000|
|5.||General Electric Theatre||CBS||11,810,000|
|6.||You Bet Your Life||NBC||11,306,000|
|8.||Ed Sullivan Show||CBS||11,038,000|
|9.||I’ve Got a Secret||CBS||10,971,000|
|Percent of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||I Love Lucy||CBS||44.4|
|3.||Jack Benny Show||CBS||40.9|
|5.||General Electric Theatre||CBS||37.1|
|6.||Ed Sullivan Show||CBS||34.7|
|I’ve Got a Secret||CBS||34.7|
|8.||You Be Your Life||NBC||34.6|
Copyright 1955 by A. C. Nielsen Co.
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.