Nielsen Top 10, February 26th – March 4th, 1973

Here are the first ten programs from the twenty-fifth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, February 26th, 1973 through Sunday, March 4th, 1973. There were a total of 62 programs broadcast during the week and The Los Angeles Times published the complete Nielsen report on March 17th, 1973. All in the Family was once again the most-watched program for the week, with the 15th Annual Grammy Awards in second place, both on CBS. This was the third televised Grammy Awards ceremony and the first to be broadcast on CBS (the previous ceremonies were aired by ABC). It aired on Saturday, March 3rd from 10-11:30PM. Also in the Top Ten was You’ll Never See Me Again, an installment of the ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week

CBS won the week with an average 21.0 Nielsen rating (up from a 19.9 rating the previous week), followed by NBC with an 18.2 rating (down from an 19.2 rating) and ABC with an 18.1 rating (up from a 17.7 rating). Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:

## Program Net Rating
1. All in the Family CBS 34.0
2. 15th Annual Grammy Awards CBS 29.6
3. Hawaii Five-O CBS 28.0
4. The Wonderful World of Disney NBC 26.9
5. The NBC Mystery Movie (Columbo) NBC 26.3
6. Maude CBS 26.2
7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show CBS 25.6
8. Adam-12 NBC 24.4
9. Gunsmoke CBS 23.9
10. ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week ABC 23.7

And here are the five lowest-rated programs of the week:

## Program Net Rating
59. The Julie Andrews Hour ABC 10.9
60. America NBC 10.7
61. The Bobby Darin Show NBC 10.5
62. The Men (Jigsaw) ABC  8.8
63. Here We Go Again ABC  6.8

Here We Go Again averaged an 11% share of the audience, which was actually an improvement from the previous week when it only drew 9% of the audience.

Here’s how the networks fared on Saturday, March 3rd, 1973. ABC aired Here We Go Again, A Touch of Grace, The Julie Andrews Hour and The Men (Jigsaw). CBS broadcast All in the Family, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and the 15th Grammy Awards. NBC filled its schedule with Emergency! and the NBC World Premiere Movie, which this week featured a made-for-TV movie called A Time for Love, pilot for an anthology series about love in which two loosely connected stories were told, each with their own cast.

 8:00PM  6.8/11 34.0/54 21.1/34 (avg)
 8:30PM 11.8/19 21.5/33 21.1/34
 9:00PM 10.9/18 (avg) 25.6/41 16.7/28 (avg)
 9:30PM 10.9/18 23.6/33 16.7/28
10:00PM  8.8/15 (avg) 29.6/53 (avg) 16.7/28
10:30PM  8.8/15 29.6/53 16.7/28
Average  9.6/16 27.3/45 18.2/30

Note that Bridget Loves Bernie lost a considerable portion of its lead-in. Notice also that The Mary Tyler Moore Show was able to draw some of those viewers back. This was the season and series finale of Bridget Loves Bernie; The Mary Tyler Moore Show also ended its season on the evening of March 3rd. Even more interesting is the fact that A Touch of Grace was able to improve significantly on Here We Go Again. This could be attributed to the relative weak performance of Bridget Loves Bernie or perhaps A Touch of Grace was simply seen on more affiliates than Here We Go Again.


“CBS Extends Lead In Nielsen Sweepstakes.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Mar. 1973: B9.

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7 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, February 26th – March 4th, 1973”

  1. Because of the sharp drop in audience between “ALL IN THE FAMILY” and “THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW”- and the fact that several Jewish and Catholic organizarions publicly objected to the depiction of a mixed marriage on TV- Fred Silverman decided to cancel “BRIDGET LOVES BERNIE” after its first season (even though it was one of the most successful new series of the 1972-’73 season), feeling it just wasn’t worth the effort to nurture his modern version of “Abie’s Irish Rose” under those conditions.

    ABC had weak clearance for most of its low-rated series, especially on Saturday nights, when some of their affiliates preferred to carry the syndicated “LAWRENCE WELK SHOW” at 8pm, which the network dropped from its Saturday lineup two years before, only to see it become MORE successful off-network, drawing away several of their local stations. One incentive was that Welk’s weekly hour was offered on a “barter” basis- the syndicator gave the show away to any station that wanted it, provided they aired at least four to six minutes of national advertising from his long-time sponsor, The J.B. Williams Company [Geritol, Sominex, Aqua Velva, et. al.], and Nabisco…the remaining commercial time was the station’s, available for their own advertisers [why should they take ABC’s weak programming when they could {and DID} make more money selling local commercials on a syndicated show that was more popular, and virtually cost them nothing?].

  2. There was a lovely assortment of backdoor pilots broadcast during Week 25 of the 1972-73 season.

    On Monday, February 26th, the ‘NBC Monday Night at the Movies’ at 9 pm featured THE STRANGER, a pilot from Bing Crosby Productions for a scifi series about a parallel earth planet that garnered a rather sweet 19.5HH/31%.

    On Tuesday the 25th, CBS broadcast CALL TO DANGER on ‘The New CBS Tuesday Movie’ which garnered a 19.5/34%. This was the second backdoor pilot of the same title to star Mr. Peter Graves in an espionage-thriller type series pitch (the earlier version had been broadcast in the summer of 1968). This pilot may have been commissioned to find Mr. Graves another series as ‘Mission: Impossible’ was winding down, but CBS didn’t pick it up.

    On Tuesday over on NBC, the Peacock network aired an old Universal pilot that had been gathering dust since the ’60s titled I LOVE A MYSTERY, starring Mr. David Hartman, Mr. Les Crane and Mr Hagan Beggs as insurance investigators in a revival of an old primetime radio series. Miss Ida Lupino camps it up, and Mr. Don Knotts was featured in a small part of the pilot. Perhaps NBC was contemplating a slot for this series as part of the ‘NBC Mystery Movie’ wheel…it could have also taken a second look-see at this pilot because Mr. Hartman had starred in a highly-rated but passed over ABC pilot a few years earlier called THE FEMINIST AND THE FUZZ, and ‘Lucas Tanner’ and ‘Good Morning America’ were not yet in play. But I LOVE A MYSTERY didn’t gather up many viewers, rating a 15.4HH/24% and ranking in third place.

    I truly lament the days when the broadcast networks consulted with their audiences on pilots for potential series by broadcasting them on a regular basis. Today, it is very rare to see an unpurchased pilot, and that is why it is such a treat to see NBC broadcasting THE JENSEN PROJECT, a passed over pilot, this coming Friday July 16, 2010. Unfortunately, today’s era of broadcast television has the network minions relying almost exclusively upon little focus groups of Lost Angeles residents pulled together to tell them which pilots will connect with viewers…I think consulting with the wider public is a better way of picking winners, and sometimes salvaging those little gemstone pilots that focus group audiences couldn’t wrap their heads around.

  3. “Lost Angeles” seems to be appropriate as far as gauging reaction to unaired TV pilots these days, ‘DuMont’….networks won’t air half-hour and hour-long pilots in the summer [or any time of the year] these days because they don’t want to “waste” valuable air time on projects that no one apparently wanted to see, anyway {“movie-length” pilots are the exception}.

  4. In the current economics of television, networks are also not always producing finished pilots, sometimes choosing to only go with a “treatment” or a single filmed scene to get a “feel” for how the show would look. The days are long gone when the networks are sitting on rafts of completed pilots that get burned off during the summer months.

  5. The total ratings disaster for The Julie Andrews Hour was a complete “huh?!” for me for decades until I realized the problem: ABC scheduled it at 10 pm EST Wednesdays with lead-ins like Paul Lynde Show which were total bombs. Julie was a huge ratings hit in Canada having ratings in the numbers like the national broadcasts of NHL games. Also, the Andrews show aired on Sundays right after Walt Disney. I’ve seen ads in old Variety newspaper paid for by the production company behind the Andrews show all but begging ABC to put the show on a better time. The audience avoided the show, the Emmy awards loved it. Go figure.

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