Nielsen Top 10, November 20th – November 26th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the eleventh week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, November 20th, 1972 through Sunday, November 26th, 1972. There were a total of 58 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on December 6th, 1972. After two weeks in the runners up position, behind movies True Grit and then Patton, both broadcast by ABC, All in the Family climbed back to the top of the charts this week, with a huge 34.5/54 Nielsen rating. ABC had to settle for second with a repeat of its critically acclaimed made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song, broadcast on November 21st as part of The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week.

Two other movie nights were in the Top Ten: The ABC Wednesday Movie (premiere of the made-for-TV movie All My Darling Daughers, with Robert Young and Eve Arden) and The CBS Thursday Movie (1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Dick Van Dyke). ABC was able to rank second for the week with an 18.9 Nielsen rating (down from a 19.5 the previous week. CBS was first with a 20.4 rating (up from a 20.1 rating) and NBC was third with an 18.6 (down from a 21.2 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family ABC 34.5
2. ABC Tuesday Movie ABC 30.4
3. Columbo NBC 29.0
4. Maude CBS 28.8
5. Sanford & Son NBC 27.7
6. Hawaii Five-O CBS 27.7
7. ABC Wednesday Movie ABC 25.9
8. Walt Disney NBC 25.9
9. CBS Thursday Movie CBS 25.5
10. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 25.4

Here’s how the networks fared on Friday, November 24th. ABC opened with The Brady Bunch, followed by The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple and Love, American Style. CBS broadcast The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and then The CBS Friday Movie (Live a Little, Love a Little, an Elvis Presley film). NBC opened with Sanford and Son, then The Little People (later The Brian Keith Show), Ghost Story and Banyon.

 8:00PM 17.1/25 15.6/26 27.7/46
 8:30PM 19.6/32 15.6/26 18.7/31
 9:00PM 15.9/27 18.4/31 18.7/31
 9:30PM 15.9/27 18.4/31 18.7/31
10:00PM 17.5/32 18.4/31 16.1/29
10:30PM 17.5/32 18.4/31 16.1/29
Average 17.2/29 17.5/29 19.3/33

NBC comfortably but not overwhelmingly won the night with a 19.3 rating and a 33 share. CBS was able to pass ABC for second on the strength of The CBS Friday Movie, averaging a 17.5 rating and a 29 share; ABC had an up-and-down night and averaged a 17.2 rating and a 29 share, meaning CBS and ABC were tied in terms of share of the audience. Interestingly, after losing a huge portion of the audience after Sanford and Son ended at 8:30PM, NBC was able to hold steady until 10PM; Ghost Story retained all of its The Little People lead-in. The Little People would return the following season while both Ghost Story and Banyon were canned at the end of the 1972-1973 season.

Despite facing ABC’s repeat of Brian’s Song on Tuesday, November 21st, CBS was able to stay very competitive with Hawaii Five-O and the first half-hour of The CBS Tuesday Night Movie (Gargoyles). NBC, which filled all three hours of prime time with West Side Story, had to settle for a weak third. Here are the ratings for the 8:30-10PM period:

 8:30PM 30.4/43 27.7/39 11.4/17
 9:00PM 30.4/43 27.7/39 11.4/17
 9:30PM 30.4/43 19.5/32 11.4/17
Average 30.4/43 25.0/37 11.4/17

Based solely on these average ratings rather than half-hour or quarterly breakdowns, 66.8% of all television households were watching the networks during this period; an astounding 97% of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into either ABC, CBS or NBC.


“‘All in the Family’ Tops Ratings Again.” Los Angeles Times. 6 Dec. 1972: D24.

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6 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, November 20th – November 26th, 1972”

  1. The network movie nights did very well in Week 11. One of the films that made its broadcast debut that week on ‘NBC Saturday Night at the Movies’ was HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, which got a subpar 14.7HH/26%.

    The film, which was based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical production, was to beget an ABC pilot ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, which starring Miss Susan Blanchard taking over the role essayed in the film by Miss Michele Lee, while Mr. Alan Birsky assumed the role made famous by Mr. Robert Morse. The pilot was written by Mr. Abe Burrows, who had also written the feature film, as well as being writer-composer of the features CACTUS FLOWER, CAN-CAN, SILK STOCKINGS, GUYS & DOLLS. Mr. Burrows also co-created and scripted the cult ABC series ‘O.K. Crackerby!’ with the tv critic Mr. Cleveland Amory back in the ’60s. This ABC pilot would be his final film/television project.

    Just a month after Mr. Fred Silverman assumed the Presidency of ABC, the network finally got around to burning off the ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ pilot on Friday June 27, 1975, it garnered an almost invisible 5.2HH/11%.

    It would be nice to see a dvd release of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING that included this pilot, much like the recent anniversary dvd editions of the musicals STATE FAIR and THE KING AND I both contained the pilots for their respective spin-off series.

    1. I can’t believe that in 7 years, no one notice that when he corrected one mistake, he made another. I’m sure he intended to say he typed CBS rather than NBC. Ironically, CBS would later run Columbo on the CBS Late Movie.

  2. A friend gave me the Boston area TV GUIDE that covers the bulk of this period (November 18–24)

    Bea Arthur is the cover story. Other articles feature James Caan (tied into the BRIAN’S SONG reairing), and TODAY SHOW producer turned author Al Morgan (his book “The Whole World Is Watching” is a fictionalized telling of what he experienced doing TODAY from Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention) experiencing the trials and tribulations of a promotional tour, from interacting with Joe Franklin in New York to enduring a bomb threat to the Los Angeles studio where he was appearing on a local show hosted by Regis Philbin–although Reege wasn’t the one interviewing him). It also announces BONANZA’s cancellation.

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