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:
|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|
|6.||Sanford and Son||CBS||24.4|
|7.||Monday Night Football||ABC||24.3|
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.
Time ABC CBS NBC 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.