Nielsen Top 10, January 8th – January 14th, 1973

Here are the first ten programs from the eighteenth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, January 8th, 1973 through Sunday, January 14th. There were a total of 64 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on January 24th, 1973. CBS was, not surprisingly, at the top of the chart with All in the Family. But for the week as a whole, NBC was able to top CBS for the first time since mid-November with a 20.3 Nielsen rating (down from a 20.8 the week before). CBS was second with a 19.4 rating (down from a 21.0) and ABC third with a 17.7 (up from a 17.5).

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

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 33.8
2. Sanford & Son CBS 31.2
3. Ironside NBC 29.1
4. Walt Disney NBC 28.4
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show CBS 26.7
6. The Flip Wilson Show NBC 26.1
7. Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 26.0
8. Gunsmoke CBS 25.5
9. The Bob Newhart Show CBS 25.4
10. Adam-12 NBC 25.4

Rather than compare one evening’s programming I’ve decided to do something a little different and take the five lowest-rated programs and compare them to the competition. ABC’s The Julie Andrews Hour was 60th out of 64th programs. Broadcast on Wednesday, January 10th, it competed with Cannon (13th) on CBS and SEARCH on NBC. It ranked a poor third in the time slot, with SEARCH (40th) a relatively noncompetitive second.

Net Rating
CBS 24.8/43
NBC 17.7/31
ABC 10.6/15
Total 53.1/89

On Thursday, January 11th from 9-11PM ABC broadcast “Highlights of Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Chung Kuo’ (China)” (61st) opposite The CBS Thursday Movie (The Gypsy Moths, 31st) on CBS and a combination of Ironside and The Dean Martin Show (27th) on NBC.

Net Rating
NBC 24.9/38 (avg)
CBS 20.4/33
ABC 10.0/16
Total 55.3/87

Next was Alias Smith & Jones (62nd) on ABC, broadcast from 8-9PM on Saturday, January 13th opposite both All in the Family (1st) and Bridget Loves Bernie (11th) and Emergency! (39th) on NBC.

Net Rating
CBS 29.6/47 (avg)
NBC 18.1/29
ABC  9.8/16
Total 57.5/92

Ranking 63rd was 60 Minutes on CBS. I’m not sure why it was included in the weekly Nielsen chart given that it aired from 6-7PM on Sunday, January 14th — outside of prime time. In any event, its competition was not included in the Nielsen chart, so comparisons are impossible. The 64th and final program was an hour-long special CBS News Special entitled “Nixon: The Next Four Years,” broadcast on Monday, January 8th from 10-11PM opposite the second half of The NBC World Premiere Movie (Set This Town on Fire, 28th) and the second half The ABC Monday Movie (Five Card Stud, 18th).

Net Rating
NBC 22.7/36 (2nd half)
ABC 20.6/32 (2nd half)
CBS  8.6/14
Total 51.9/82


“Paar Boosts ABC Share in Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Jan. 1973: G18.

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4 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, January 8th – January 14th, 1973”

  1. Just a note that this was the 18th week of the 1972-73 season (not the 16th).

    As the second season was in full swing, it was also time for the networks to begin screening backdoor pilots (some from prior development seasons) before the start of the February Sweep.

    SET THIS TOWN ON FIRE was an old passed over pilot filmed in 1969 that finally aired on the ‘NBC Monday Night at the Movies’ on Monday January 8, 1973 getting a respectable 22.7HH/35%. The series, which would have starred Mr. Carl Betz (‘Judd for Defense’), was created by the superb television writer/producer Mr. Roy Huggins (’77 Sunset Strip’, ‘Run for Your Life’, ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Rockford Files’, ‘The Bold Ones’), was not picked up.

    MURDOCK’S GANG was a CBS backdoor for a legal series, and it rated poorly at 14.2HH/25% in the second half of ‘The CBS Tuesday Double Feature’ where it followed the cult thriller HUNTER, a telemovie about an assassination plot. The winner that night was THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER starring Miss Shelley Winters on the ‘ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week’ which garnered a dominant 24.0HH/36%.

    The final backdoor was INCIDENT ON A DARK STREET on the ‘NBC Saturday Night at the Movies’ which rated a subpar 15.4HH/27%. This was to have been a series called ‘The Prosecutors’, about a team of young DA’s, and I seem to remember a crusty but loveable older DA there too, to lend some wisdom. Fans of ‘Star Trek’ will remember this telefilm guest starred Mr. William Shatner playing a heavy.

    I do miss this bygone era of television where executives tested their new series concepts with the viewing public via backdoors and drama/comedy pilot umbrella series, instead of making all their determinations based on focus group data who may help with casting and concept tinkering but almost never predict breakout hits.

    1. Wow! I remember watching “The Devil’s Daughter” this week back in 1972. I was 6 years old and it scared the crap out of me. My parents sent me to bed early because I was so upset.

      I absolutely love this website and going through the old Nielsen ratings.

  2. These days, “Incident On A Dark Street” is readily available for anyone who wants to see it, because 20th Century-Fox allowed its copyright on the film to lapse after 2000. It’s currently a public domain staple on “dollar DVD’s” (last I saw, there were a number of copies at my local Dollar Tree).

  3. Surprised to see how competitive The Gypsy Moths was, considering how it fared at the box office. Great movie, by the way.

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