Nielsen Top 10, January 15th – January 21st, 1973

Here are the first ten programs from the nineteenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, January 15th, 1973 through Sunday, January 21st. There were a total of 65 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on February 2nd, 1973. Once again, All in the Family topped the Nielsen chart for CBS, but a pair of NBC specials ranked second and third. “The Bob Hope Christmas Show,” broadcast from 8:30-10PM on Wednesday, January 17th, was second for the week with a 34.1 rating while “Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special,” broadcast from 9-10PM on Thursday, January 18th, was third with a 32.6 rating.

Due in part to the strength of these two specials, NBC was able to average a 20.6 Nielsen rating for the week (down from a 20.8 rating); CBS was second with a 19.1 rating (down from a 21.0 rating) and ABC third with an 18.6 rating (up from a 17.5 rating).

Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 37.5
2. Bob Hope Christmas Show NBC 34.1
3. Jack Benny Special NBC 32.6
4. Sanford & Son NBC 29.3
5. The Wonderful World of Disney NBC 28.7
6. The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (“Columbo”) NBC 28.5
7. Adam-12 NBC 26.5
8. Bridget Loves Bernie CBS 26.1
9. The Mary Tyler Moore Show CBS 25.5
10. The Flip Wilson Show NBC 24.9

Here’s how the networks fared on Wednesday, January 17th, an evening NBC dominated with its line-up of Adam-12, “The Bob Hope Christmas Special” and “Cole Porter in Paris,” another special. CBS broadcast “Strange Creatures of the Night,” a National Geographic special, Medical Center and Cannon. And ABC aired The Paul Lynde Show, The ABC Wednesday Movie (Female Artillery) and Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law.

 8:00PM 16.3/24 19.7/28 (avg) 26.5/39
 8:30PM 16.0/23 (avg) 19.7/28 34.1/49 (avg)
 9:00PM 16.0/23 14.7/21 (avg) 34.1/49
 9:30PM 16.0/23 14.7/21 34.1/49
10:00PM 16.7/29 (avg) 18.7/33 (avg) 19.2/34 (avg)
10:30PM 16.7/29 18.7/33 19.2/34
Average 16.3/25 17.7/27 27.9/42

Notice that ABC, despite ranking third for the evening as a whole, was second behind NBC during the 9-10PM hour due to the weak performance of Medical Center on CBS. Note also that NBC’s “Cole Porter Special” was unable to capitalize on its huge lead-in, barely beating Cannon on CBS during the 10-11PM time slot. NBC’s share of the audience dropped from 49% to 34% while ABC and CBS jumped from 23% to 29% and 21% to 33%, respectively.

On Saturday, January 20th, ABC premiered a new schedule that included two new sitcoms: Here We Go Again, A Touch of Grace, The Julie Andrews Hour and “Three Remarkable Women.” CBS broadcast its regular powerhouse lineup of All in the Family, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. NBC opened the evening with a half-hour “Presidential Inauguration” special, which was followed by The NBC Saturday Movie (The Apartment).

 8:00PM 11.5/17 37.5/56  8.9/13
 8:30PM 14.6/23 26.1/33 16.6/27 (avg)
 9:00PM 12.7/20 (avg) 25.5/40 16.6/27
 9:30PM 12.7/20 24.6/39 16.6/27
10:00PM 12.7/22 (avg) 20.9/36 (avg) 16.6/27
10:30PM 12.7/22 20.9/36 16.6/27
Average 12.8/21 26.0/40 15.3/25

The premiere of Here We Go Again ranked 64th out of 65 programs for the week, ahead of only NBC’s “Presidential Inauguration” special. The premiere of Touch of Grace fared slightly better, ranking 54th for the week, but The Julie Andrews Hour then sank back to 60th, while “Three Remarkable Women” was 59th. For the evening as a whole, the networks averaged a 54.1 Nielsen rating and a 86% share of the audience, meaning more than half of all television households in the nation were watching one of the networks and 86% of all television households watching television that evening were tuned into one of the networks.

Programs of note broadcast this week include The ABC Tuesday Movie (The Night Strangler starring Darren McGavin, a sequel to The Night Stalker; a weekly series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, would air during the 1974-1975 season), which ranked 14th for the week with a 23.4 rating and “Return to Peyton Place,” a prime time special recapping NBC’s daytime serial of the same name, which ranked 58th with a 12.9 rating.


“ABC Lineup Fails To Dent CBS Lead.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Feb. 1973: G14.

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14 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, January 15th – January 21st, 1973”

  1. That primetime presentation of “RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE” may very well have been the first daytime program rerun in the evening. It involved the climax of a murder trial. As interesting as an experiment it was, it probably got the same rating it received in daytime which was not high enough by 1973 standards.

    1. In 1983, ABC kicked off its soap LOVING with a two-hour movie preview the night before its daytime premiere, given added star power by Geraldine Page and Lloyd Bridges, who were not part of the series.

  2. Back in the early 90’s NBC tried airing Days of our Lives at night right before the nighttime airing of the Daytime Emmys.

    Since the Daytime Emmys were on a Friday night and the nighttime version of the soap didn’t really continue the daytime storyline the ratings were very weak.

  3. …which only proves that “daytime dramas” are not seen to their best advantage in prime-time…unless you happen to be SoapNet, repeating ABC’s daytime soaps at night to a very tiny audience.

    1. In 1965, CBS tried to capitalize on PEYTON PLACE by scheduling its own nighttime serial, OUR HIDDEN WORLD. It was in fact AS THE WORLD TURNS brought to prime time, with its star Eileen Fulton playing her character Lisa Hughes. It ran from May to September of that year.

  4. It’s interesting that “Bridget Loves Bernie” continues to rank in the top ten (as it did for most of the season), yet was still doomed for cancellation by CBS after one season. Then was doomed again 30 years later when Sony announced a DVD release of this series, had it all re-mastered and ready to go, then cancelled their release plans at the last minute…it’s never been re-scheduled or mentioned again.

  5. On Tuesday January 16th, each of the networks aired a series pilot of sorts, either formally commissioned, backdoor or unintended.

    The formally commissioned pilot was ‘Hernandez, Houston P.D.’ which aired at 10 pm out of a fresh episode of ‘The Bold Ones’. The pilot starred Mr. Henry Darrow as a Mexican-American police detective from Chicago transplanted to the Houston police service. Had this gone to series, Mr. Darrow’s Detective Juan Hernandez would have been the first drama to feature a Hispanic character in a lead role. The pilot was written by the prolific television mystery-genre writer Mr. Robert Van Scoyk, and directed Mr. Richard Donner who would go on to direct SUPERMAN a few years later. The pilot rated poorly with a 14.2HH/22%, and thereafter was never really in contention for series.

    A backdoor pilot titled THE VOYAGE OF YES aired on ‘The New CBS Tuesday Movies’ at 9:30 pm out of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and garnered a respectable 17.3HH/29%. What distinguished the telefilm from the Bing Crosby Productions was that it starred Mr. Desi Arnaz Jr. and Mr. Michael Evans, two sitcom actors playing teenagers in a drama-adventure story set at sea. Had the telefilm gone to series, it would have seen the two young men going from port to port and encountering various characters and their stories, a ‘Route 66’ of the sea.

    And finally the unintended pilot. After THE NIGHT STALKER on the ‘ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week’ garnered a simply stunning 33.2HH/48% on January 11, 1972, ABC asked Mr. Dan Curtis to go ahead with the second of what was planned to be a trilogy of telefilms featuring the intrepid Carl Kolchak as a paranormal investigative reporter. One year later, on Tuesday January 16, 1973 ABC aired the THE NIGHT STRANGLER again as part of the ‘ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week’ at 8:30 pm out of ‘Temperature’s Rising’, and it attracted a very strong 23.4HH/36%. This was surprising to me as the thoroughly chilling sequel was a much higher quality production and I thought it might actually out-rate the original.

    Given the two exceptional ratings, ABC and Mr. Dan Curtis worked to conceive a series ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’, which took over a year and a half in development before it debuted in the 1974-75 season where it struggled in two Friday timeslots (first at 10 pm, then at 8 pm), airing 20 episodes that averaged 13.6HH that ranked 74th out of 84 series in the regular season that year.

    The Carl Kolchak character was then re-booted into a new ‘Night Stalker’ series by ABC for the 2005-06 season, where it lasted six episodes aired before being yanked (leaving six unaired episodes) after averaging 3.6HH/5, 2.0 A18-49, 5,250,000 P2+, viewership numbers that ranked it 108th on 156 series that season.

  6. That “Hernandez” pilot sounds interesting… I don’t remember it, though. I do remember Henry Darrow from The High Chaparral, on which he was very good as Manolito.
    I do remember watching the original “Night Stalker” movies. And I also remember “Bridget Loves Bernie.” And I have to say, despite the high ratings the show got, and despite its good cast, nothing much was lost when CBS decided to cancel it. It was a lousy, lousy show. It did have a good theme song, though.

    1. The problem with BRIDGET LOVES BERNIE is that Screen Gems couldn’t handle “relevant” comedy, whether Norman Lear’s political type or MTM’s personal version. When all a sitcom needed was either a happy family or a wacky gimmick (or both), Screen Gems did just fine.

  7. Being 11 years old at the time I remember BRIDGET LOVES BERNIE because it followed ALL IN THE FAMILY which I loved. Even at that age I remember thinking it wasn’t very funny. Especially between ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

  8. I will always be stunned by the Julie Andrews Hour being an outright bomb on ABC, From the ratings report for this week, a lot of people tuned in to the new Shirley Booth comedy-A Touch of Grace, then fled to the remote control and switched channels, What is it that Andrews had millions of moviegoers going to the movie theatre to pay money for her movies, then run away from her on the small screen? The show did win a ton of Emmys though so the series was at least a critical hit.( A top ten TV hit on CBC in Canada that year though it did air right after Disney,))

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