Here are the first ten programs from the twenty-ninth week of the 1972-1973 television season, which ran from Monday, March 26th, 1973 through Sunday, April 1st, 1973. Bill was once again kind enough to send me the Top Ten programs and their Nielsen ratings for the week. Not surprisingly, the 45th Annual Academy Awards (broadcast on Tuesday, March 27th) took the top spot for NBC, with a 37.8 rating. (Marlon Brando boycotted the ceremony and sent Sacheen Littlefeather as his proxy; she refused his Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (for The Godfather) in protest of the treatment of Native Americans by the entertainment industry.)
All in the Family was second for second for CBS. Both networks placed five programs in the Top Ten, leaving ABC shut out completely. If I had to guess, I would say NBC may have been able to win the week thanks to the strength of the Academy Awards. For the record, the Academy Awards broadcast began at 10PM but I don’t know how long it lasted. It was preceded by “Bob Hope’s Cavalcade of Champions,” an hour-long special honoring the best in sports, which ranked fourth for the week. A repeat of the canceled Bridget Loves Bernie ranked seventh for the week.
Here’s the Top Ten, complete with Nielsen ratings:
|1.||“45th Annual Academy Awards”||NBC||37.8|
|2.||All in the Family||CBS||33.3|
|3.||Sanford and Son||NBC||26.9|
|4.||“Bob Hope’s Cavalcade of Champions”||NBC||26.9|
|5.||NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (McMillan and Wife)||NBC||25.1|
|7.||Bridget Loves Bernie||CBS||23.6|
|9.||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||CBS||23.2|
6 Replies to “Nielsen Top 10, March 26th – April 1st, 1973”
Only two backdoor pilots were aired in Week 29, won by NBC with a 20.0HH average, followed by CBS at 19.1HH and ABC at 15.6HH.
Both backdoors aired as part of an ‘NBC Saturday Night at the Movies Double Feature’:
HITCHED -> 16.5HH/29% – A most interesting backdoor for a western series that would have starred Miss Sally Field and Mr. Tim Matheson as a newlywed homesteaders (kind of the same concept as ‘Young Pioneers’, a shortflight series that ABC would pick up a few years later). According to IMDB, this Universal pilot had been filmed in 1971, but NBC didn’t air it until 1973. I remember watching it and enjoying it as much I had been entertained by all of Miss Field’s previous work.
SAVAGE -> 16.3HH/32% – This pilot was directed by, ahem, Mr. Steven Spielberg, and written by the talented partnership of Mr. William Link and Mr. Richard Levinson. Had it gone to series, it would have starred Mr. Martin Landau in a series built around a crusading television reporter (remember them).
These were both pilot burnoffs as NBC had already completed their 1973-74 fall sked, which was going to be announced in the upcoming week. I’m sure had they rated stronger, they might have gotten a second look from programmers at the Peacock.
Was there ever a show as highly-rated as “Bridget Loves Bernie” that ended up canceled? I know the reasons given at the time were that religious groups were very upset by the show, as well as that CBS thought the ratings dropped too much after its “All in the Family” lead-in. That might be true, but it was still in the Top 10! I was in fifth grade at the time the show originally aired, and even then I thought the religious uproar about the show was over the top.
The only other show I can think of that was cancelled with such high ratings was The Smothers Brothers, and we all know the story behind that.
I seem to recall Red Skelton was canceled by CBS despite always being at or near the top of the Nielsen’s. But the network geniuses had a demographic problem with Red’s audience. The viewers were too old to leave their homes and buy anything, they figured, and so were worthless, as was Red himself. Red then moved to NBC for a half-hour slap-dash show that seemed too casual even for Red. It didn’t last.
The concern about older people to advertisers wasn’t that they wouldn’t go out and buy…but that they were so brand loyal, it was difficult for their commercials to get them to switch allegiances. Younger audiences were and are considered more receptive to try new things if told about them.
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was #8 or so at end of 1973-1974 season when it was reluctantly cancelled by CBS due to the marital woes of its stars.