Last year, I examined the lowest-rated television programs during the 1987-1988 season. It was a huge amount of work, eating up as much as two hours each week. Why? I didn’t just post a list of the lowest-rated programs. I wrote a lengthy analysis of the Nielsen Bottom 10 every week. Despite a desire to examine the lowest-rated programs from other seasons, I didn’t want to do all that work again.
Starting today I’ll be posting the Bottom 10 programs from the 1972-1973 season each week. To save time and safeguard my sanity, there won’t be any analysis, just a list of the Bottom 10 programs each week. I may add some comments but otherwise I’ll leave it up to readers to analyze why certain shows may have failed to draw an audience.
My sources are Broadcasting magazine and The Los Angeles Times. Broadcasting published full lists for the first two months of the 1972-1973 season but usually only provided ratings for the Top 15 programs. The Los Angeles Times published full Nielsen lists–with ratings and shares for every single program–starting with the fourth week of the season. Between the two publications, I have access to the Bottom 10 programs for 26 weeks of the traditional 30-week season. There was also one “black week” during that period.
(I posted the weekly Nielsen Top 10 from the 1972-1973 season back in 2010. Start here.)
Week 1 of the 1972-1973 season started on Monday, September 11th, 1972 and ended on Sunday, September 17th, 1972. The highest-rated program was Marcus Welby, M.D. on ABC. Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs:
|56||Dick Van Dyke||CBS||N/A|
|58||Streets of San Francisco||ABC||N/A|
|61||Anna & King||CBS||N/A|
|65||Alias Smith & Jones||ABC||N/A|
For the record, program titles are written exactly the way they were published in 1972.
That’s The New Dick Van Dyke Show in the 56th position. The three “McGovern” programs on the list are paid political advertisements for George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.
“NBC is first out of the chute in new Nielsens.” Broadcasting. 2 Oct. 1972: 39.