Nielsen Top 10, October 30th – November 5th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the eighth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, October 30th, 1972 through Sunday, November 5th, 1972. There were a total of 66 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on November 17th, 1972. The paper made a point of noting that ABC’s made-for-TV movie That Certain Summer (which it called an “adult drama movie dealing with homosexuality”) ranked 13th for the week. On the other end of the Nielsen list were a slew of political broadcasts: three for George McGovern ranked 59th, 62nd and 64th and one for the American Independent Party was 66th. And something called “Vote for Peace” was 65th. I’m not sure why Nielsen rated these broadcasts, unless they included commercials, which seems unlikely.

Getting back to regular network fare, All in the Family was once again on top. Bridget Loves Bernie was third for the week with a 27.4 Nielsen rating, up considerably from the 22.5 it earned the previous week. There were no movie nights in the Top Ten but The NBC Saturday Movie was 11th. For the week as a whole, CBS averaged a 19.1 Nielsen rating (down from a 20.1 rating the week before), NBC a 19.0 (down from a 19.4) and ABC an 18.8 (no change). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 36.8
2. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 28.1
3. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 27.4
4. The NBC Mystery Movie (Columbo) NBC 26.7
5. Hawaii Five-O CBS 25.4
6. Sanford and Son CBS 24.4
7. Monday Night Football ABC 24.3
8. Ironside NBC 24.3
9. Cannon CBS 24.2
10. Gunsmoke CBS 23.9

Here’s how all three networks fared on Wednesday, November 1st. ABC aired The Mod Squad, The Men and Owen Marshall, Counseler at Law. CBS broadcast The Waltons and the first part of The Dirty Dozen as part of The CBS Thursday Night Movie. NBC filled its three hours of prime time with The Flip Wilson Show, Ironside and The Dean Martin Show. Only Ironside ranked in the Top Ten for the week.

 8:00PM 19.4/27 18.5/28 22.1/34
 8:30PM 19.4/27 18.5/28 22.1/34
 9:00PM 14.8/23 17.4/29 24.3/38
 9:30PM 14.8/23 17.4/29 24.3/38
10:00PM 17.6/32/td>

17.4/29 16.0/29
10:30PM 17.6/32 17.4/29 16.0/29
Average 17.3/27 17.8/29 20.8/34

As always, because these are program averages rather than half-hour or quarterly breakdowns, it is impossible to make direct comparisons. There’s no way of knowing from these numbers how the first half-hour of The CBS Thursday Movie actually performed opposite the first half of The Men on ABC and Ironside on NBC. For the evening as a whole, however, CBS just barely beat out ABC for second place behind NBC, which despite the poor performance of The Dean Martin Show from 10-11PM still managed to average a 20.8 Nielsen rating. ABC lost a lot of viewers at 9PM while NBC gained quite a few. When those viewers then fled NBC at 10PM, some of them likely moved back to ABC.

I wish I knew when the various political broadcasts were aired and on which networks so I could compare them with other programming. I’m sure whichever network aired the American Independent Party broadcast on Tuesday, October 31st wished it hadn’t. It drew a paltry 4.0/7. Of course, if it only lasted a few minutes it probably didn’t impact the evening’s overall average.


“All Networks Close on Weekly Averages.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Nov. 1972: G29.

2 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, October 30th – November 5th, 1972”

  1. THAT CERTAIN SUMMER, which aired as part of the weekly ‘ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week’ umbrella got a surprisingly high 23.5HH/35% Nielsen, notable because of the number of ABC affiliates who refused to clear it or aired it later due to the content.

    I remember watching the original broadcast, which had those sombre ‘mature content’ warnings at every station break, and which also had a higher-than-average number of network promo bumpers due to a lack of advertisers, who were skittish about allowing their ads to appear within the broadcast, even though it had laudatory reviews for its compassionate treatment and superb performances by Mr. Martin Sheen and Mr. Hal Holbrook.

    Back in the early ’70s, all the broadcasters (PBS included) faced these sorts of problems when they aired “controversial” broadcasts. I can remember similar affiliate/sponsor problems with all sorts of programs, and I think it was one of the reasons the so-called “Family Viewing Hour” (no adult content until after 9 pm) came into being over the 1974-77 period which the broadcasters all voluntarily adhered to.

  2. there’s a mistake above in the Top 10 shows of the week….it lists “Sanford and Son” as a CBS show….uh-uh, absolutely NOT!…”Sanford and Son” was on NBC and you better know it!….the webmaster or somebody should correct this typo ASAP……

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