Nielsen Top 10, November 13th – November 19th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the tenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, November 6th, 1972 through Sunday, November 12th, 1972. There were a total of 61 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on December 1st, 1972. Topping the chart was ABC’s broadcast of Patton, released in 1970 and starring George C. Scott. It aired on Sunday, November 19th as part of The ABC Sunday Night Movie. According to television listings in The New York Times, the movie ran for three and a half hours, not ending until 12:30AM, long after prime time had ended. Uncut, Patton runs 172 minutes or roughly two hours and 51 minutes. Depending on how much ABC cut from the movie for its television premiere, once commercial breaks are added in, the broadcast easily could have lasted that long.

The previous week, ABC’s broadcast of True Grit, which ranked first with a 38.9 Nielsen rating, ran until 11:30PM, also outside of prime time. A total of four movies were in the Top Ten: The Green Berets (The NBC Saturday Movie), The Victim (The ABC Tuesday Movie) and Giant, Part II (The NBC Monday Movie). The first part of Giant aired the previous week and ranked 16th. The Los Angeles Times pointed out that while movies did well, four specials, including the 100th installment of Hallmark Hall of Fame (NBC, “Hands of Cormac Joyce,” broadcast Friday, November 17th) and the season premiere of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (ABC, broadcast Wednesday, November 15th) ranked 47th, 48th, 49th and 51st, respectively.

NBC won the week with a 21.2 rating (up from an 18.8 the previous week), CBS ranked second with a 20.1 (up from a 19.2) and ABC brought up the rear with a 19.5 (up from a 17.8 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. ABC Sunday Movie ABC 38.5
2. All in the Family CBS 31.5
3. NBC Saturday Movie NBC 28.9
4. ABC Tuesday Movie ABC 27.2
5. Walt Disney NBC 27.2
6. Maude CBS 27.1
7. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 26.8
8. NBC Monday Movie NBC 25.9
9. Sanford & Son NBC 25.7
10. Hawaii Five-O CBS 25.1

Here’s how the networks fared on Tuesday, November 14th. ABC aired Temperature’s Rising, made-for-TV movie The Victim and Marcus Welby, M.D.. CBS broadcast Maude, Hawaii Five-O, and made-for-TV movie The Strangers in 7A. And NBC filled its schedule with Bonanza, The Bold Ones and the first installment of America, a 13-part documentary series written and hosted by Alistair Cooke.

 8:00PM 18.1/26 27.1/40 16.7/24
 8:30PM 27.2/40 25.1/36 16.7/24
 9:00PM 27.2/40 25.1/36 14.6/22
 9:30PM 27.2/40 17.0/27 14.6/22
10:00PM 26.8/44 17.0/27 14.0/21
10:30PM 26.8/44 17.0/27 14.0/21
Average 25.6/39 21.4/32 15.1/22

ABC easily won the night thanks to “The Victim,” which starred Elizabeth Montgomery and Marcus Welby, M.D. CBS was able to win the 8-8:30PM time slot with Maude before settling into a competitive second place with Hawaii Five-O. Made-for-TV movie The Strangers in 7A starring Andy Griffith ranked 39th for the week and was the lowest rated movie night. As for NBC, its line-up ranked a weak third and lost viewers as the evening progressed.


“Movie ‘Patton’ Takes Top Nielsen Rating.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Dec. 1972: D29.

9 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, November 13th – November 19th, 1972”

  1. Very interesting as this explains why two long-running shows like “BONANZA” and “THE BOLD ONES” were cancelled. God didn’t get’em, it was “MAUDE.”

    It is downright shocking to see that “TEMPERATURE’S RISING” would ever outrank anything, much less “BONANZA”.

    1. Chuck…it had been around since 1959, and by now it was down to Ben and Little Joe (Dan Blocker, aka Hoss, had died earlier that year)

      1. So where exactly did Bonanza rank for the week? It says that week it brought in a 16.7 rating and a 24 share.

  2. NBC made a crucial programming mistake on Tuesdays in the fall of 1972 by literally moving the two-hour “BONANZA”/THE BOLD ONES” block from Sunday night to Tuesday- they naturally thought their loyal viewers would follow (after all, weren’t they perfect “back-to-back” performers during the previous three seasons?). They didn’t. Even though NBC cancelled “BONANZA” in mid-season {“14 seasons is long enough for syndication, anyway”}, they had to honor their commitment to MCA/Universal to finish out the final “BOLD ONES” season.

    Even though “TEMPERATURES’ RISING”, which was part of producer Bill Asher’s deal with Screen Gems/Columbia and ABC in lieu of the ninth season of “BEWITCHED” that never was [the other part of the deal was “THE PAUL LYNDE SHOW”], performed somwhat decently at the start of the season, “MAUDE” soon grabbed what viewers it had, forcing it off the air while Asher “retooled” it for the following season (meaning Paul Lynde as the new star, whose own series was dropped at the end of the ’72-’73 season). THEN it limped off the air in 1974.

    1. Barry… I don’t think they were that “perfect”–in the three previous seasons BONANZA went from #3 to #9 to #20 in the ratings, and THE BOLD ONES never even cracked the Top 30. The relocated MYSTERY MOVIE wheel improved on its previous year’s Wednesday numbers, finishing at #6 (up from #14).

      Another point…when NBC and CBS strengthened its program flow on Tuesday, it knocked TUESDAY MOW and MARCUS WELBY out of the Top 10 (#17 and #13 for the full year). I am willing to say that dilution of the MOW brand with its Wednesday expansion may have caused that (although it did finish at #27 and took a measurable chunk of MEDICAL CENTER’s audience)

    2. William Asher did NOT retool “Temperatures Rising” for its second season. The “geniuses” at ABC and Screen Gems decided to radically alter the show into a vehicle for Paul Lynde. Asher was dead set against the change and refused to continue with the series. With his departure two new producers, Duke Vincent and Bruce Johnson, were brought in. Once ABC and Screen Gems realized the new format was not working Asher was called back to salvage the series. He did as best he could but it was too late to bring back its audience. This is really a pity considering that in its first season “Temperatures Rising” was a funny and well-made sitcom.

  3. If memory serves me correct, in late 1971 / early 1972, when ABC learned of CBS’s plans to turn the M*A*S*H film into a series, ABC began to look around for its own comedy medico series, in one of those follow-the-pack tendencies that the webs demonstrate each season.

    I believe there was a script/treatment/pitch around a series based on a medical unit in Vietnam, but that was soon abandoned when somebody suggested doing an adaptation of ‘Doctor in the House’, which was due to start a syndie run in the US of the British series based on the films. I don’t think the adaptation rights for ‘Doctor in the House’ were never negotiated, but writers came up instead with an idea to centre the funny doctors in the hospital workplace instead, and this was piloted (under a different title) and picked up as ‘Temperature’s Rising’ by the Alphabet.

    ‘Temperature’s Rising’ went through several versions and re-boots, and three different casts…Mr. Cleavon Little was the only acting constancy within the series from beginning to end. And ABC, watching ‘MASH’ take off over on CBS, really tried to make this series work. Most weeks during its two season run, it provided a very tepid lead-in to the ‘ABC Movie of the Week’ which often times won its time period.

  4. What I remember most about TEMPERATURES’ RISING was the show that replaced it: HAPPY DAYS. Ritchie, Potsie and the gang premiered in the top 20 and finished in 16th place for the season. Fonzie at this point was just a minor character. I liked the show better this way over when Fonzie became the star and the audience would scream whenever he came into a scene.

    Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles) was really the star of TEMPERATURES’ RISING and when Paul Lynde joined the show his part got watered down. If the writers had kept the format of the first season and had the very funny Paul Lynde play off the very funny Cleavon Little, they might have had a hit. But they didn’t. I don’t know if they were trying to emulate M*A*S*H or what the deal was but adding drama to the show was a mistake,

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