National Hooper Ratings, September 1949

Larry Wolters was very specific about the period these ratings covered, writing on October 28th, 1949 that “Milton Berle is again top man in television, according to the first fall Hooper poll of video. The initial checkup, covering September, placed him far ahead of his nearest competitor.” That’s an understatement. According to Wolters, Berle had a 73.7 share of the audience for his Texaco Star Theater program, aired on NBC. Unfortunately, the ratings for the top four programs were the only ones disclosed in this article. One of the programs tied for third place was Television Playhouse, which is probably The Philco Television Playhouse on NBC.

## Program Network Rating
1. Texaco Star Theater (The Milton Berle Show) NBC 73.7
2. Arthur Godfrey and His Friends CBS 39.8
3. Television Playhouse (Philco Television Playhouse) NBC 37.7
  Stop the Music ABC 37.7


Wolters, Larry. “Berle Repeats, Tops TV Hooper By Wide Margin.” Chicago Daily Tribune. 28 Oct. 1949: A12.

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One Reply to “National Hooper Ratings, September 1949”

  1. AS more television stations went on the air in the fall of ’49, and more people began frequenting their neighbor’s homes (on the nearest bar and/or appliance store)- or finally went out and bought their own sets to watch, the popularity of Milton Berle on “TEXACO STAR THEATER” soared among those who watched him {“Did you SEE what Berle did last night? My gosh, I didn’t know you could DO THAT on television and be so funny!!”}- 1949 was definitely “his year”, and that’s why three out of four homes that had TV were tuned to him on Tuesdays at 8pm(et).

    “Runner-up” was Arthur Godfrey, who had already settled into a comfortable, informal variety show format, featuring his daytime radio cast, on Wednesday nights at 8pm(et), and whom viewers liked almost as much as Berle. The difference was, Arthur was also on every weekday morning on radio, AND the radio/TV simulcast of “TALENT SCOUTS” on Mondays. He could do a great “cross-promotion” of [and on] any of his shows, and make it sound natural {“Well, I’ll see you tonight on ‘TALENT SCOUTS’ (or, “tonight on our TV show”, “tomorrow morning on the radio”)- this is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System”}. He could mention one “off-the-cuff” remark concerning his talent or sponsors, and people would go for them in droves. THAT’S how popular he was. And the simulcast of his daily radio show was almost three years in the future….

    “PHILCO TELEVISION PLAYHOUSE”, under producer Fred Coe, was earning a reputation for great live Sunday night drama on NBC [9-10pm(et)], and until the mid-’50s, was one of the best anthologies on TV.

    “STOP THE MUSIC” was a monster hit on ABC radio’s Sunday night schedule during the 1948-’49 season [it forced Fred Allen and Edgar Bergen off the air because they just couldn’t compete against Bert Parks and his “musical jackpot question” calls to home listeners]. ABC decided a TV edition would be just as effective, and that went on Thursdays at 8pm(et)- and for a year, it was. At the beginning of the 1949-’50 season, it was the network’s top-rated show {and they didn’t have that many affiliates because they didn’t have the resources to sign more up, or build more stations; they and DuMont always “fought it out” for third place behind NBC and CBS back then}. When “THE LONE RANGER” began that September just before “STOP THE MUSIC” on Thursdays at 7:30, it earned almost as many viewers, making it the SECOND highest-rated show on ABC’s schedule.

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