Nielsen Bottom 10, December 4th-10th, 1972

Week 13 of the 1972-1973 season started on Monday, December 4th, 1972 and ended on Sunday, December 10th, 1972. The highest-rated program was a Bob Hope special on NBC with a 38.1/55 Nielsen rating/share. Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs:

## Program Network Rating
59 Brady Bunch ABC 12.5/19
60 Anna & King CBS 12.2/18
61 ABC Apollo 17 Launch ABC 11.9/20
62 Banyon NBC 11.9/20
63 Dick Van Dyke CBS 11.9/17
64 First Tuesday NBC 11.3/20
65 Vandals ABC 11.1/16
66 Alias Smith & Jones ABC 11.0/17
67 “Countdown to 2001” ABC 10.6/15
68 Sandy Duncan CBS 10.4/15

For the record, program titles are written exactly the way they were published in 1972.

ABC’s coverage of the Apollo 17 was scheduled to run from 9:30-11PM ET on Wednesday, December 6th. By comparison, the CBS ranked 23rd with a 19.8/36 rating/share while the NBC ranked 37th with a 17.1/31 rating/share. Both CBS and NBC were scheduled to cover the launch from 9:45-10:15PM ET.

“Countdown to 2001” and “The Vandals” were half-hour ABC specials that aired back-to-back from 8-9PM ET on Monday, December 4th. “Countdown to 2001” featured a look at future space programs like Skylab and the Space Shuttle. “The Vandals” examined the impact of vandalism on American society.


“Holiday Specials at Top of New Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Dec. 1972: D24.

I asked last week and I’m asking again today. Does anyone have access to the full Nielsen chart for the week of December 18-24, 1972? I can only find the Top 10 and I need the 10 lowest-rated programs that week. Please contact me if you can help.

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5 Replies to “Nielsen Bottom 10, December 4th-10th, 1972”

  1. Curious to find out what that special said about the future of the space program. Skylab and the Space Shuttle became routine assignments at NASA by the ’80’s. Also, it looks like this week was the final nail in the Sandy Duncan Show coffin. Interestingly a 10.4/15 rating would be considered a hit today, but don’t forget there were only 3 networks and no cable or streaming.

    1. I found the Nielsen Top 10 for 11/20/17 and NBC Sunday Night Football was the #1 rated show with an 11.0 rating. NCIS was the top non-football show, in fourth place with a 7.6. The 10th place show was the pregame show Football Night In America Part 3 with a 5.7 rating. I didn’t know that the NBC pregame show had more than one part.

      1. You proved my point. Tim!! A bottom rated show in 1972 is not much lower than a top rated show today. One other factor I should have included: There were no DVRs then, you either watched a show when it was on or you never saw it.

    2. That is so true, Charles. Little did they know at the time what the future would hold. I was so disappointed when “The Sandy Duncan Show” did so badly in the ratings. I watched it every week. I wonder if “Funny Face” would have done as well if it did not have such a great time slot. That is something we will never know. I think CBS figured the popularity of that show would continue with Ms. Duncan’s revamped series on a different night the following season.

  2. The Apollo 17 launch was delayed almost three hours (scheduled for 9:53 P.M. Eastern; liftoff didn’t occur until 12:33 A.M. EST).

    As a result, ABC’s coverage ran from 9:30 P.M.-1 A.M. EST; while CBS and NBC were each on from 9:45 P.M. to 1 A.M. EST.

    I also recall that due to the launch delay that the three networks did allow their local stations in the Eastern and Central time zones to break away at 11 P.M. EST/10 P.M. CST for local news since the launch was going to be delayed quite a while.

    However, the three network stations in Boston (WBZ, WCVB, and the then-WNAC) stayed with the network during the 11-11:30 P.M. half-hour.

    I would think the launch ratings were dragged down due to the fact that liftoff wasn’t until after Midnight on the East Coast.

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