Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period running Sunday, September 11th through Saturday, September 24th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating.
I can’t say with certainty this was the first official week of the 1955-1956 season. Contemporary newspaper articles in September 1955 refer generically to the start of a new television season but do not mention a hard start date.
Unfortunately, the report does not indicate which programs were only seen during one of the two weeks covered. NBC’s Color Spread, for example, was a series of occasional Sunday spectaculars, one of which — a live, color adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” — aired on Sunday, September 11th. Another NBC series, The Martha Raye Show, aired every three weeks.
|Number of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||Ford Star Jubilee||CBS||15,667,000|
|3.||Toast of the Town||CBS||12,764,000|
|5.||Colgate Variety Hour||NBC||12,190,000|
|6.||Martha Raye Show||NBC||11,687,000|
|9.||Those Whiting Girls||CBS||10,906,000|
|Percent of TV Homes Reached|
|2.||Ford Star Jubilee||CBS||48.7|
|3.||Toast of the Town||CBS||39.7|
|4.||Martha Raye Show||NBC||38.7|
|6.||Colgate Variety Hour||NBC||37.3|
|7.||Robert Montgomery Presents||NBC||35.8|
|10.||Perry Como Show||NBC||34.3|
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. 24 Oct. 1955: Page 60.