Nielsen Top 10, December 11th – December 17th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the fourteenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, December 11th, 1972 through Sunday, December 17th, 1972. There were a total of 70 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on January 1st, 1973. Once again, CBS was at the top of the chart with All in the Family. In second place place was a CBS special called “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical version of “The Princess and the Pea” starring Carol Burnett. It aired on Tuesday, December 12th from 8:30-11PM. Preceding it was another special, a repeat broadcast of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which ranked fourth for the week.

CBS won the week with an average 20.9 Nielsen rating (even with the previous week), NBC was second with a 17.4 (down from a 20.6 rating), and ABC a close third with 17.2 (up from a 16.9 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 34.0
2. “Once Upon a Mattress” CBS 28.4
3. Sanford & Son NBC 28.1
4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” CBS 27.3
5. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 26.7
6. Ironside NBC 25.9
7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show CBS 25.8
8. Cannon CBS 25.5
9. Gunsmoke CBS 25.4
10. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 24.0

In addition to “Once Upon a Mattress” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” four other specials ranked in the Top 30: “Portrait: The Woman I Love” (ABC), “Don Rickles–Alive and Kicking” (CBS), “Of Men and Women” (ABC) and “The Night the Animals Talked” (ABC), which ranked 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 28th, respectively. One special that didn’t do well ABC’s “John Lennon and Yoko Ono Present the One-to-One Concert,” broadcast from 10-11PM on Friday, December 15th. It ranked a dismal 62nd.

Here’s how the networks fared on Monday, December 11th. ABC aired The Rookies and Monday Night Football. CBS broadcast Gunsmoke, Here’s Lucy, The Doris Day Show and The New Bill Cosby Show. NBC filled its schedule with Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The NBC Monday Night Movie (1964’s A Shot in the Dark).

 8:00PM 17.8/27 (avg) 25.4/37 (avg) 18.2/26 (avg)
 8:30PM 17.8/27 25.4/37 18.2/26
 9:00PM 23.6/40 (avg) 22.6/33 13.9/24 (avg)
 9:30PM 23.6/40 21.1/31 13.9/24
10:00PM 23.6/40 15.2/26 (avg) 13.9/24
10:30PM 23.6/40 15.2/26 13.9/24
Average 21.6/37 20.8/32 15.3/25

CBS started out strong but ultimately ranked second for the evening behind ABC, which started in third with The Rookies and then rose to first over the next two hours with Monday Night Football. Had The New Bill Cosby Show performed stronger perhaps CBS could have won the night. NBC had a relatively weak night, ranking second from 8-9PM and then third from 9-11PM.

Both ABC and NBC broadcast coverage of the Apollo 17 mission during the week. Here are the Nielsen ratings for those broadcasts, which I haven’t matched up with days and times:

Net Rating Rank
NBC 18.4/30 29
NBC 14.1/26 55
NBC 12.5/22 61
ABC 11.6/20 63
ABC 10.0/16 69

For the record, Alias Smith and Jones ranked dead last for the week with a 9.6/16 Nielsen rating.


“Latest Nielsens: All in the Family Keeps Top Rating.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Jan. 1973: G24.

Related Posts

Become a Patron Today

Are you a fan of obscure television? Please support Television Obscurities on Patreon by becoming a patron today.

3 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, December 11th – December 17th, 1972”

  1. I remember watching “Once Upon a Mattress.” I must have been 4 at the tme. I think someone had read the story to me that day or week because I know I really wanted to watch it.

  2. This was a new production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” and the last time Ms. Burnett played the role which she first originated on Broadway in 1958. It was also after her association with Bob Banner which dated back to her run with the 1958-64 “Garry Moore Show,” had come to an end (Banner’s company co-owns the first five seasons of “The Carol Burnett Show,” which explains why the earliest sketches from the show to make it to the subsequent syndicated “Carol Burnett and Friends” are from this 1972-73 season).

  3. I suspect the highest-rated Apollo 17 telecast was the conclusion of the final moonwalk on Wednesday night, December 13th (also seen on ABC and CBS), which was thr last time up to the present (2019) that humans have walked on the moon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.