Nielsen Bottom 10, February 8th-14th, 1988

Week 21 of the 1987-1988 season started on Monday, February 8th, 1988 and ended on Sunday, February 14th, 1988. The highest-rated program was The Cosby Show on NBC with a 30.1/45 Nielsen rating/share and 44.9 million viewers according to AGB Television Research.

Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs on TV during Week 21 of the 1987-1988 season:

## Program Network Rating Viewers
58 Houston Knights CBS 10.1/17 13,500,000
  Our House NBC 10.1/16 17,900,000
60 1988 Winter Olympics [Saturday] ABC 9.9/17 15,400,000
61 West 57th CBS 8.9/16 13,200,000
62 The Law and Harry McGraw CBS 8.7/13 11,100,000
63 Primary Report NBC 8.4/15 N/A
64 Star Trek II [movie] ABC 8.1/12 10,600,000
65 The Thorns ABC 7.7/13 11,700,000
66 48 Hours CBS 7.6/11 9,700,000
67 Sledge Hammer! ABC 6.8/11 10,400,000
68 The Charmings ABC 6.3/9 9,600,000

Copyright A.C. Nielsen Co. and AGB Television Research

Note: USA Today did not begin including FOX programming in its weekly rating charts until December 1988.

The February “sweeps” continued this week but there was limited special programming on the networks. There were several made-for-TV movies on various networks. ABC kicked off the 1988 Winter Olympics from Calgary, Canada on Saturday, February 13th but initially drew very low ratings.

Due to two programs tying for 58th in the ratings, the above chart includes the Bottom 11 rather than the Bottom 10. Of those 11 programs, five were on ABC, three were on CBS, and two were on NBC. Most were familiar low-rated shows like Our House (NBC), The Law and Harry McGraw (CBS), Sledge Hammer! (ABC).

ABC and NBC both aired half-hour news specials about the Iowa caucus from 10:30-11PM on Monday, February 8th. ABC’s special ranked 44th for the week while NBC’s landed near the bottom of the chart, ranking 63rd.

Both The Charmings and Sledge Hammer! aired their final episodes this week; The Charmings concluded on Thursday, February 11th while Sledge Hammer! ended on Friday, February 12th. The two shows were the lowest-rated of the week.

ABC’s rebroadcast of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Friday, February 12th landed in the Bottom 11. The movie had its network broadcast premiere back in 1985. The next day, ABC’s coverage of the start of the 1988 Winter Olympics ranked 60th with a 9.9 Nielsen rating, which was actually down slightly from its nightly average the previous week. Sunday’s Olympic coverage, however, perked up and ranked 10th for the week.

Also of note: Frank’s Place (CBS, Monday, February 8th) tied for 56th for the week; The Slap Maxwell Story (NBC, Wednesday, February 10th) ranked 48th; Tour of Duty (CBS, Thursday, February 11) tied for 46th; “Disney’s Magic in the Magic Kingdom” (NBC, Friday, February 12th) tied for 46th; High Mountain Rangers (CBS, Saturday, February 13th) tied for 50th; and My Two Dads (NBC, Sunday, February 14th) tied for 41st.

Source:
“Using this chart.” USA Today. 17 Feb. 1988: 03.d

TV Guide Ad: 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC

Here’s a TV Guide ad from October 1964 promoting live coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics on NBC:

Scanned black and white TV Guide ad for the 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC
TV Guide Ad for the 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

If you were willing to stay up until 1AM Eastern on Friday, October 9th (technically by then it was Saturday, October 10th) you could watch the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Summer Olympics live from Tokyo on NBC, courtesy of the Syncom III satellite. The live coverage was scheduled to last two hours. NBC decided to delay the ceremony for the West Coast rather than interrupt its regular prime time and late night programming, a decision that upset the Japanese.

The opening ceremonies were the only portion of the 1964 Summer Olympics that NBC carried live. The rest of the its coverage consisted of film or videotape shipped from Japan to the United States.

This particular ad is from the Western New England Edition of TV Guide. Channel 4 was WBZ-TV in Boston, MA; Channel 10 was WJAR-TV in Providence, RI; Channel 22 was WWLP in Springfield, MA; Channel 30 was WHNB-TV in West Hartford, CT; Channel 32 was WRLP in Northfield, MA; and Channel 79 was WHNB-TV in Waterbury, CT.

Image Credit:
TV Guide, October 3rd, 1964 (Vol. 12, No. 40) Western New England Edition, A-66

The Monroes Coming to DVD

One season wonder The Monroes, which aired on ABC during the 1966-1967 season, is coming to DVD next month. According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, Shout! Factory is releasing the Western TV series on September 6th. At least initially it will be a Walmart exclusive. You can pre-order the set at Walmart.com for just $13.37.

DVD cover for The Monroes: The Complete Series

The Monroes: The Complete Series (Courtesy of Shout! Factory/Walmart)

Set in the 1870s, The Monroes followed five orphaned children struggling to run their frontier homestead after their parents drowned while the family was making their way to Wyoming. Michael Anderson Jr., Barbara Hershey, Keith Schultz, Kevin Schultz, and Tammy Loche starred.

The series faced stiff competition from The Beverly Hillbillies on CBS and The Virginian on NBC and was not renewed for a second season. A total of 26 episodes were aired.

Nielsen Bottom 10, February 1st-7th, 1988

Week 20 of the 1987-1988 season started on Monday, February 1st, 1988 and ended on Sunday, February 7th, 1988. The highest-rated program was The Cosby Show on NBC with a 32.3/47 Nielsen rating/share and 46.5 million viewers according to AGB Television Research.

Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs on TV during Week 20 of the 1987-1988 season:

## Program Network Rating Viewers
63 Our House NBC 11.0/17 18,100,000
64 Houston Knights CBS 10.0/16 13,400,000
65 48 Hours CBS 8.9/13 11,900,000
66 Ohara ABC 8.8/14 13,100,000
67 The Thorns ABC 8.6/14 11,600,000
68 The Law and Harry McGraw CBS 8.4/13 13,100,000
69 Sledge Hammer! ABC 8.3/13 11,700,000
70 Bugs Bunny Valentine (special) [repeat] CBS 7.7/11 13,000,000
71 West 57th CBS 7.6/13 10,500,000
72 Political Broadcast CBS 4.9/7 7,700,000

Copyright A.C. Nielsen Co. and AGB Television Research

Note: USA Today did not begin including FOX programming in its weekly rating charts until December 1988.

The second month of 1988 brought with it another “sweeps” month for the networks. The February sweeps period officially began on Wednesday, February 3rd and ran until Wednesday, March 2nd. The first two days of February featured five repeats. There were no repeats during the remainder of the week. There were, however, five official “specials” according to Nielsen and plenty of other programs the networks hoped would skew ratings in their favor.

With two exceptions, the Bottom 10 this week was made up of the same low-rated weekly shows like Our House (NBC), Houston Knights (CBS), and Sledge Hammer! (ABC). NBC only placed one show in the Bottom 10 while CBS had six and ABC three.

At the very bottom of the chart was a half-hour political broadcast that aired on CBS on Thursday, February 4th from 8-8:30PM. TV listings called it a “Paid Political Announcement for Lyndon LaRouche (a perennial candidate for President of the United States between 1976 and 2004). It was followed at 8:30PM by a repeat of “Bugs Bunny’s Valentine,” a half-hour animated special that originally aired in February 1979. That special also landed in the Bottom 10.

Recently introduced 48 Hours landed in the Bottom 10 in its third outing on CBS. ABC’s mid-season replacement The Thorns was also once again among the lowest-rated programs on the air.

Also of note: Weekend War (ABC, Monday, February 1st) ranked 33rd for the week; Jake and the Fatman (CBS, Tuesday, February 2nd) ranked 56th; A Year in the Life (NBC, Wednesday, February 3rd) ranked 53rd; Full House (ABC, Friday, February 5th) ranked 52nd; High Mountain Rangers (CBS, Saturday, February 6th) ranked 57th; and Dolly (ABC, Saturday, February 6th) ranked 58th.

Source:
“Using this chart.” USA Today. 10 Feb. 1988: 03.d

Catching Up on E-mails

If you’ve e-mailed me in the past month and a half, you most likely haven’t received a response. I’m not ignoring you but I am incredibly busy. I have a lot going on in real life this summer. As a result I’m not able to devote as much time as I’d like to Television Obscurities. Not answering e-mails is unfortunately an easy way to save time. I do hope to finally start catching up on replying to questions and comments this weekend.

I also plan to publish a new article by the end of the month if I can finish it soon. We’ll see if I can pull myself away from watching the Olympics long enough to get it done.

TV Guide Ad: Kate McShane

Here’s a CBS TV Guide ad from September 1975 promoting the network’s new drama series Kate McShane:

Scanned black and white TV Guide ad for Kate McShane
TV Guide Ad for Kate McShane – Copyright 1975 Triangle Publications, Inc.

Kate McShane may have been a flop, pulled off the air after only nine episodes, but it left a small mark in television history. It was the first prime time network drama in which the main character was a female lawyer. Anne Meara starred as the title character. At least one episode was left unaired after CBS pulled the plug, possibly two.

A pilot telefilm for the series aired in May 1975.

This particular ad is from the Western New England Edition of TV Guide. Channel 3 was WFSB-TV in Hartford, CT.

Image Credit:
TV Guide, September 6th, 1975 (Vol. 23, No. 36), Western New England Edition, Page A-96.

Bookshelf: Strange Report

Bookshelf is a monthly column examining printed matter relating to television. While I love watching TV, I also love reading about it, from tie-in novels to TV Guides, from vintage television magazines to old newspaper articles. Bookshelf is published on the second Thursday of each month.

Strange Report
By John Burke
First Published in 1970
Published by Lancer Books
159 Pages

I read this entire novel not realizing it was based on the first two episodes of Strange Report. Nowhere is the fact that this is a novelization mentioned–not on the front cover, the back cover, or anywhere inside. To be fair, nowhere is referred to as an “original novel” or “original story” either.

Strange Report was a co-production between Incorporated Television Company (ITC) in England and Arena Productions in the United States. Norman Felton served as executive producer. It originally aired on ITV in the United Kingdom from 1969 to 1970 and later aired on NBC in the United States from January to September 1971.

The series starred Anthony Quayle as Adam Strange, a retired criminologist who solved unusual cases with the help of his two assistants: Evelyn McClean (played by Anneke Wills) and Hamlyn “Ham” Gynt (played by Kaz Garas). Strange was somewhat eccentric. He drove an old, out-of-service taxi and built a state-of-the-art laboratory in his house.

A total of 16 episodes were produced. John Burke’s novelization is based on the first two episodes broadcast: “Report 5055: Cult,” about an electrocuted pop star and a cult masquerading as a charity, and “Report 0649: Skelton,” in which a World War II-era skeleton is dug up.

Scan of the front cover to Strange Report
Front Cover to Strange Report – Copyright 1970 Incorporated Television Company Ltd.

Unfortunately, the two stories aren’t mixed together well. The author tried to smoothly introduce both in the first two chapters, but for the most part the first half of the novel is all about the electrocuted pop star, his terrified singing partner Maggie, and the Cypress Grove charity. Strange agrees to look into Cypress Grove for Maggie.

Once Strange wraps up his investigation of the charity, the focus of the novel shifts entirely to the second story as Strange tries to identify the mysterious skeleton. A key was found on the body, so Strange and Hamlyn must find the door it goes to. Their search leads them to a wealthy industrialist and, ultimately, the truth.

As is so often the case with TV tie-in novels, I haven’t seen any episodes of Strange Report, so I can’t speak to how well the characters are represented in print. Nor can I say how closely the novel sticks to the episodes it’s based on. At the very least, a few scenes were added to connect the two stories, and there’s quite a bit of Strange’s personal life and history laid out for the benefit of readers.

Scan of the back cover to Strange Report
Back Cover to Strange Report – Copyright 1970 Incorporated Television Company Ltd.

Despite not knowing the novel was actually a novelization when I read it, I actually did enjoy it quite a bit. I did find it strange (pun intended) that it featured two completely unrelated stories. While reading it, I incorrectly assumed that each episode of the TV series covered two stories.

For the record, this novel was also published in the United Kingdom by Hodder Paperbacks. The UK version had a different cover.

Nielsen Bottom 10, January 25th-31st, 1988

Week 19 of the 1987-1988 season started on Monday, January 25th, 1988 and ended on Sunday, January 31st, 1988. The highest-rated program was Super Bowl XXII with a 41.9/62 Nielsen rating/share and 63.6 million viewers according to AGB Television Research.

Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs on TV during Week 19 of the 1987-1988 season:

## Program Network Rating Viewers
58 Live and Let Die (repeat) [movie) ABC 9.6/15 12,300,000
  West 57th CBS 9.6/18 13,500,000
60 St. Elsewhere (repeat) NBC 9.3/17 13,000,000
  Ohara ABC 9.3/16 11,900,000
62 The Thorns ABC 8.8/15 12,600,000
63 Houston Knights CBS 8.7/15 9,800,000
64 Law and Harry McGraw (repeat) CBS 8.1/13 12,300,000
  Sledge Hammer! (repeat) ABC 8.1/14 11,700,000
66 Our House NBC 7.3/11 10,600,000
67 The Charmings (repeat) ABC 7.1/11 9,500,000
68 On the Edge (special) (repeat) NBC 5.9/10 8,400,000

Copyright A.C. Nielsen Co. and AGB Television Research

Note: USA Today did not begin including FOX programming in its weekly rating charts until December 1988.

The above chart includes 11 programs because a pair of low-rated shows tied for 58th. The week was bookended by two atypical broadcasts: the State of the Union on Monday, January 25th and Super Bowl XXII on Sunday, January 31st. The networks filled the bulk of the week with repeats, no doubt to conserve original programming from the February 1988 sweeps period. CBS and NBC each placed five programs in the Bottom 11 with ABC taking the remaining five slots. Of those 11 programs, only four were originals.

All three networks carried live coverage of the State of the Union on Monday, January 25th at 9PM. According to the Only CBS and NBC returned to regular programming at 10:20PM; ABC presumably stuck with analysis. CBS aired an original episode of Wiseguy, which landed just outside the Bottom 11, ranking 57th for the week.

NBC opted to air a repeat of an unsold drama pilot called “On the Edge,” originally broadcast on June 5th, 1987. Tom Skerrit starred as a surly police officer who teams up with a rookie cop to track down a serial killer. It ranked dead last for the week in 68th place.

Repeats of The Law and Harry McGraw (CBS) and St. Elsewhere (NBC) on Wednesday, January 27th were both in the Bottom 11. A special airing of Beverly Hills Buntz on NBC was the network’s only original programming that night; it ranked 56th.

With the exception of Simon & Simon and Knots Landing, every single program aired on Thursday, January 28th was a repeat. ABC’s repeat of The Charmings at 8PM ranked 67th. It was followed at 8:30PM by The ABC Thursday Night Movie (a repeat of Live and Let Die) which tied for 58th.

ABC also fared poorly on Friday, January 29th. Full House tied for 52nd at 8PM. Mr. Belvedere perked up to 46th at 8:30PM. But recent mid-season replacement The Thorns dropped down to 62 at 9PM. A repeat of Sledge Hammer! followed at 9:30PM an tied for 64th. Newsmagazie 20/20 performed well at 10PM, however, tying for 28th.

ABC only placed a single program in the Bottom 11 on Saturday, January 30th: Ohara at 9PM tied for 60th. CBS opened the night with mid-season replacement High Mountain Rangers, which ranked 44th. Houston Knights dropped to 63rd at 9PM. West 57th did slightly better at 10PM, tying for 58th.

Amazingly, only one of the programs aired opposite Super Bowl XXII on Sunday, January 31st landed in the Bottom 11. It was NBC’s repeat of Our House at 7PM. It ranked 66th. The only original programming was 60 Minutes on CBS, which tied for 47th.

Also of note: “American Music Awards” (ABC, Monday, January 25th) ranked 15th for the week; 48 Hours (CBS, Tuesday, January 26th) tied for 49th; Jake and the Fatman (CBS, Tuesday, January 26th) ranked 39th; The Slap Maxwell Story (ABC, Wednesday, January 27th) tied for 49th; “Snoopy the Musical” (CBS, Friday, January 29th) tied for 47th; and the series premiere of The Wonder Years (ABC, Sunday, January 31st) tied for 13th.

Source:
“Using this chart.” USA Today. 3 Feb. 1988: 03.d