Nielsen Top Ten, October 9th – October 15th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the fifth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, October 9th, 1972 through Sunday, October 15th, 1972. There were a total of 63 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on October 26th, 1972. All in the Family was once again the top program for CBS, with NBC taking the next three slots with The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (an installment of Columbo), The Wonderful World of Disney and The NBC Monday Night Movie (Firecreek). Rounding out the Top Five was ABC’s Marcus Welby, M.D.. For the week as a whole, NBC was first with a 20.2 rating (up from a 19.4 the previous week), pushing CBS to second with a 19.8 (no change) and leaving ABC in third with an 18.0 (down from an 18.5).

Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 31.1
2. The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie NBC 28.0
3. The Wonderful World of Disney NBC 26.6
4. The NBC Monday Night Movie NBC 26.2
5. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 26.3
6. Sanford & Son NBC 25.5
7. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 24.6
8. Adam 12 NBC 24.5
9. Hawaii Five-O CBS 24.1
10. The Flip Wilson Show NBC 23.9

I’ve broken down the evening of Tuesday, October 10th to see how each network performed and how their respective audiences flowed. But first, here’s a table that shows how the networks fared from 10-11PM on Wednesday, October 11th when Cannon (CBS), SEARCH (NBC) and The Julie Andrews Hour (ABC) went head-to-head:

Net Rating
CBS 23.4/42
NBC 15.8/28
ABC 12.4/22
Total 51.6/92

Cannon was easily the top show for CBS, drawing a 42% share of the available television audience during the hour. Of all the television households watching television at the time, 92% of them were watching either ABC, CBS or NBC. Here’s the Thursday, October 12th 8-9PM hour, which pitted The Flip Wilson Show (NBC), The Mod Squad (ABC) and The Waltons (CBS) against one another:

Net Rating
NBC 23.9/38
ABC 17.6/28
CBS 16.9/27
Total 58.4/93

This time it was NBC on top with a 38% share of the available audience; a total of 93% of televisions in use were watching one of the networks. Finally, here’s a close examination of how the networks performed during the evening of Tuesday, October 10th. ABC’s schedule consisted of Temperature’s Rising, The ABC Tuesday Movie (Night of Terror) and Marcus Welby, M.D.. CBS had Maude, Hawaii Five-O and The CBS Tuesday Movie (Visions). And NBC started with Bonanza, moved to The Bold Ones and finished with NBC Reports. Although CBS started off strong, ABC was able to overcome the weak Temperature’s Rising and win the night. NBC wasn’t even close. Here’s a table:

 8:00PM 17.1/27 22.6/36 19.5/30
 8:30PM 23.3/35 24.1/36 19.5/30
 9:00PM 23.3/35 24.1/36 15.7/24
 9:30PM 23.3/35 18.6/30 15.7/24
10:00PM 26.3/44 18.6/30 13.5/23
10:30PM 26.3/44 18.6/30 13.5/23
Average 23.3/37 21.1/33 16.2/27

Based on the average figures, some of which required a little rounding, the networks enjoyed roughly a 97% share of the available audience from 8-11PM, with the remaining 3% watching public television or independent stations. I should note that without half-hour breakdowns it’s impossible to be exact; if you notice, the share of the audience for the 8:30-9PM half hour adds up to 101%, because I’m comparing the average rating for all 90 minutes of The ABC Tuesday Movie with the average rating for all 60 minutes of Hawaii Five-O and Bonanza.


“‘Family’ Still Top Show on Nielsen Poll.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Oct. 1972: E32.

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