Nielsen Top Ten, October 30th – November 12th, 1955

The week of October 23rd, 1955 was a Nielsen “black week,” meaning that week’s programs were not rated. You can read more about black weeks here. So here are the top ten programs for the two-week period covering Sunday, October 30th through Saturday, November 12th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating. Looking at the first list, note that the top ten programs were split between scripted and unscripted, with I Love Lucy the only scripted, weekly series. The Jack Benny Show was a mixture of sitcom and variety while The Ed Sullivan Show, The George Gobel Show and Shower of Stars were all pure variety shows. Shower of Stars aired once a month. Its Thursday, November 3rd broadcast was a musical revue featuring Jack Benny, Frankie Laine, Marilyn Maxwell and Gary Crosby, among others.

Disneyland, General Electric Theatre and Ford Theatre were anthologies, the latter two of which were scripted and dramatic. Disneyland was often scripted as was the case during this two-week period when the two-part “Story of Robin Hood” was broadcast. Rounding out the top ten were two game shows.

##ProgramNetHomes
1.$64,000 QuestionCBS15,433,000
2.I Love LucyCBS14,057,000
3.DisneylandABC12,615,000
4.Jack Benny ShowCBS12,481,000
5.Ed Sullivan ShowNBC12,447,000
6.You Bet Your LifeNBC11,810,000
7.General Electric TheatreABC11,407,000
  George Gobel ShowNBC11,407,000
9.Shower of StarsCBS11,239,000
10.Ford TheatreNBC10,669,000

##ProgramNetRating (%)
1.$64,000 QuestionCBS48.2
2.I Love LucyCBS43.2
3.Jack Benny ShowCBS39.7
4.Ed Sullivan ShowCBS39.1
5.DisneylandABC39.0
6.You Bet Your LifeNBC36.6
7.Shower of StarsCBS35.9
  General Electric TheatreCBS35.9
9.George Gobel ShowNBC34.9
10.December BrideCBS33.8

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.

Source:

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

1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Let’s see….what WERE the shows that occupied the “Top Ten” those two weeks?
    1) “I LOVE LUCY” [Mondays, 9pm(et)]: “The Great Train Robbery” [10/31/55], the last of the “Hollywood” episodes {featuring the running gag of Lucy pulling the train’s emergency cord, and Fred & Ethel splattered with food as a result} …and “Homecoming” [11/7/55], with Hollywood success going to Ricky’s head after a newspaper interview (and Lucy briefly succumbs to it as well)
    2) “THE $64,000 QUESTION” [Tuesdays, 10pm(et)] {it didn’t matter who won, because people tuned in, anyway- RED HOT!}
    3) “DISNEYLAND” [Wednesdays, 7:30pm(et)] presented as a Halloween “special”, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (half of 1949′s “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”) for the frst time on TV, on October 26th, and the television premiere of “The Story of Robin Hood” (1952), in two parts, on November 2-9.
    4) “THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM” [alternate Sundays, 7:30pm(et)] presented a filmed episode on November 7th, with classical violinist Isaac Stern [a good friend of Jack's] as a guest; when Jack is convinced he’s a terrible violinist, Mary and Rochester enlist Isaac’s help by having him play in Benny’s closet, while Rochester pretends he’s recording Jack. When he hollers “PLAYBACK!”, Stern starts playing….but the plan works TOO well. Great solo by Stern at the end of the episode!
    5) On October 30th, Ed Sullivan [Sundays, 8pm(et)] presented Andy Griffith and Roddy McDowall in a scene from Broadway’s “No Time for Sergeants”, Jean Simmons (interviewed on the set of Sam Goldwyn’s “Guys and Dolls”), comedians Orson Bean and Dick Shawn, singer Marion Marlowe, and ventriloquist Senor Wences {“S-all right?”/”S-all right!”}. November 6th saw the appearances of Phil Silvers (plugging ‘THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW”), Liberace, opera singer Rise Stevens, British vocalist David Whitfield, and international circus clown “Linon” {from Belgium}.
    6) “YOU BET YOUR LIFE” [Thursdays, 8pm(et)]. Groucho Marx’s filmed quiz show…need I say more?
    7) “GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER” [CBS, Sundays, 9pm(et)] presented “Shadow on the Heart” [10/30/55]- featuring Kathryn Grayson in her TV debut, and “Winner By Decision” [11/6/55], starring Harry Belafonte.
    8) “SHOWER OF STARS”, which appeared on Thursdays at 8:30pm(et) once a month {alternating with “CLIMAX!”}, presented “Auto Show”, with guest host Jack Benny.
    9) “THE GEORGE GOBEL SHOW” [Saturdays, 10pm(et]. The popular low-keyed, off-centered comedian had former baseball manager Leo Durocher {N.Y. Giants} as his guest on November 5th (George has a complaint against NBC, and discovers the executive he has to deal with is….Leo Durocher!).
    10) “FORD THEATER” [Thursdays, 9:30pm(et)]. This filmed anthology (later syndicated as “ALL-STAR THEATER”) featured Gale Storm and Keith Andes in “Johnny, Where Are You?” on November 3rd, and “The Blue Ribbon” {based on a Cornell Woolrich story} on November 10th, starring Gene Barry and Scott Brady.
    11) “DECEMBER BRIDE” [Mondays, 9:30pm(et)], the popular Spring Byington sitcom, featured “The Shoplifter” [10/31/55] (Lily Ruskin is accused of being a shoplifter!), and “Let Yourself Go” [11/7/55] (everyone takes Lily’s suggestion to “let themselves go”…with the expected results).

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