Nielsen Top 10, December 4th – December 10th, 1972

Here are the first ten programs from the thirteenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, December 4th, 1972 through Sunday, December 10th, 1972. There were a total of 68 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on December 22nd, 1972. All in the Family was pushed to second by a Bob Hope Special broadcast on Sunday, December 10th on NBC. Bob’s guests included Redd Foxx, Elke Sommer and Phyllis Diller. In third place was another special, “A Christmas with the Bing Crosbys,” which also aired on December 10th and on NBC. “Frosty the Snowman” was fourth, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” fifth, “The Perry Como Winter Show” sixth and “The Little Drummer Boy” was tenth. All in all, only four regular weekly series made the Top Ten.

CBS was first with a 20.9 Nielsen rating (up from a 19.9 rating), NBC second with a 20.6 (up from an 18.4) and ABC third with a 16.9 (down from a 17.5). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

Here’s how all three networks fared on Saturday, December 9th. ABC aired Alias Smith and Jones, The Streets of San Francisco and The Sixth Sense. CBS broadcast All in the Family, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and Mission: Impossible. NBC filled its three hours of prime time with Emergency and The NBC Saturday Movie, which this week was 1963’s Love is a Ball starring Glenn Ford and Hope Lange.

## Program Net Rating
1. “Bob Hope Special” NBC 38.7
2. All in the Family CBS 34.8
3. “A Christmas with the Bing Crosbys” NBC 34.4
4. “Frosty the Snowman” CBS 32.5
5. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” CBS 30.3
6. “The Perry Como Winter Show” NBC 27.7
7. Ironside NBC 28.5
8. Maude CBS 27.8
9. Sanford & Son NBC 27.8
10. “Little Drummer Boy” NBC 27.8
 8:00PM 11.0/17 34.8/54 19.5/30
 8:30PM 11.0/17 25.3/40 19.5/30
 9:00PM 15.4/24 23.1/37 16.8/29
 9:30PM 15.4/25 20.6/34 16.8/29
10:00PM 12.7/23 19.2/34 16.8/29
10:30PM 12.7/23 19.2/34 16.8/29
Average 13.0/22 23.7/33 17.7/29

CBS was able to easily win the evening despite losing a large portion of its audience as the night went on. NBC came in second and its movie likely grew with every half-hour. As for ABC, it spent the entire evening in third place, although Streets of San Francisco grew nicely out of Alias Smith and Jones.

All three networks covered the launch of Apollo 17, to varying degrees of ratings success:

Net Rating Rank
CBS 19.8/36 23
NBC 17.1/31 37
ABC 11.9/21 61


“Holiday Specials at Top of New Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Dec. 1972: D24.

2 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, December 4th – December 10th, 1972”

  1. I know this sounds strange but 1972 was the first year I remember watching TV with any interest (I was 6 at the time) and this was the first year I remember watching all those great Chistmas specials.

  2. Supposedly, the most-watched TV event of that week was the nighttime (12:30 A.M. Eastern time) launch of the final moon landing flight, Apollo 17 (delayed for almost three hours due to technical difficulties), but of course, that viewership was divided-up among all three networks.

    I would think CBS (with Walter Cronkite) probably led the ratings, but not with enough viewers to have ranked among the most-watched individual programs of the week.

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