Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period running Sunday, October 30th through Saturday, November 12th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating.
(The week of October 23rd, 1955 was a Nielsen “black week” meaning that week’s programs were not rated. You can read more about black weeks here.)
Looking at the first list, note that the top ten programs were split between scripted and unscripted, with I Love Lucy the only scripted, weekly series. The Jack Benny Show was a mixture of sitcom and variety while The Ed Sullivan Show, The George Gobel Show and Shower of Stars were all pure variety shows.
Shower of Stars aired once a month. Its Thursday, November 3rd broadcast was a musical revue featuring Jack Benny, Frankie Laine, Marilyn Maxwell and Gary Crosby, among others.
Disneyland, General Electric Theatre and Ford Theatre were anthologies, the latter two of which were scripted and dramatic. Disneyland was often scripted, as was the case during this two-week period when the two-part “Story of Robin Hood” was broadcast. Rounding out the top ten were two game shows.
|Number of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||I Love Lucy||CBS||14,057,000|
|4.||Jack Benny Show||CBS||12,481,000|
|5.||Ed Sullivan Show||NBC||12,447,000|
|6.||You Bet Your Life||NBC||11,810,000|
|7.||General Electric Theatre||ABC||11,407,000|
|George Gobel Show||NBC||11,407,000|
|9.||Shower of Stars||CBS||11,239,000|
|Percent of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||I Love Lucy||CBS||43.2|
|3.||Jack Benny Show||CBS||39.7|
|4.||Ed Sullivan Show||CBS||39.1|
|6.||You Bet Your Life||NBC||36.6|
|7.||Shower of Stars||CBS||35.9|
|General Electric Theatre||CBS||35.9|
|9.||George Gobel Show||NBC||34.9|
Copyright 1955 by A. C. Nielsen Co.
Note: Prior to July 1960, Nielsen ratings were not based on the total number of television households in the United States. From 1950 to 1953, ratings were a percentage of households in cities/markets in which the program was broadcast. From 1953 to 1960, ratings were a percentage of households capable of viewing a program.
“Latest Ratings: Nielsen.” Broadcasting*Telecasting. 12 Dec. 1955: Page 40.