Nielsen Bottom 10, January 29th-February 4th, 1973

Week 21 of the 1972-1973 season started on Monday, January 29th, 1973 and ended on Sunday, February 4th, 1973. The highest-rated program was All in the Family on CBS with a 34.7/54 Nielsen rating/share. Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs:

## Program Network Rating
55 Touch of Grace ABC 12.6/20
56 Bill Cosby CBS 11.6/19
57 Julie Andrews ABC 10.5/17
58 SEARCH NBC   9.8/17
59 The Men ABC   9.7/17
60 “Much Ado” Special CBS   9.5/17
61 Hawaiian Open Golf ABC   9.0/19
62 LBJ Interview CBS   8.9/16
63 Conversation With Kissinger CBS   7.7/11
64 Here We Go Again ABC   6.7/10

For the record, program titles are written exactly the way they were published in 1973.

“CBS aired “Conversation with Henry Kissinger” from 9-10PM ET on Thursday, February 1st. “LBJ: The Last Interview” followed from 10-11PM ET. The network aired a three-hour production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing from 8-11PM ET on Friday, February 2nd. Sponsored by IBM, the only commercials came between each of the five acts.


“Bunkers Bury Bard in New Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Feb. 1973: H22.

9 Replies to “Nielsen Bottom 10, January 29th-February 4th, 1973”

  1. Bravo to CBS and IBM for bringing three hours of Shakespeare to network television. I’d be interested in knowing if CBS aired the special for “bragging rights” that they provided culture and weren’t just interested in high ratings.

    1. I was in fifth grade in January 1973, and remember commercials promoting “Much Ado About Nothing.” The image that has stayed in my mind after all these years is of a couple waltzing around an otherwise empty ballroom.

      1. If I’m not mistaken, this show marked the TV debut of Sam Waterson, later of “Law & Order”. He was already a respected stage actor when this occurred, but his biggest fame came much later.

  2. “A Touch of Grace” was in a time slot where it never had a chance. It was scheduled against “Bridget Loves Bernie.”

    1. Yes, and ironically BLB was canceled soon after because of controversy surrounding a Jewish man marrying a Catholic woman. “Touch of Grace” was notable for giving Shirley Booth her last on-screen role.

      1. Both of those programs were shown in Canada on CTV. A Touch of Grace was a good show–J. Pat O’Malley played the male lead–and deserved a better fate. A quiet show starring old people was out of place in 1973, and it was given a bad time slot on ABC.

      2. Bridget Loves Bernie was an interesting story. The ratings were very high on Saturday night, between All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore. The subject of interfaith marriage was very controversial, and there were those who protested the show outside CBS. William Paley, the head of CBS, was tired of the protestors, and watched an episode to understand why. The story is, once he saw an episode, he ordered the show cancelled. Wasn’t worth the trouble under any circumstances, even in another timeslot.

  3. The Hawaiian Open golf tournament must have been a “spill-over” into prime-time due to either a weather delay or (more likely) a playoff to determine the winner.

    Even with the time difference between our 50th state and the mainland, I would think ABC’s broadcast was originally scheduled to end at 7 P.M. Eastern time.

  4. Wasn’t “Here We Go Again” scheduled on Saturday night at 8 (Eastern/Pacific), going up against “All In The Family” and “Emergency”?

    With competition like that, no wonder it would finish dead last in the ratings!

    However, it should also be noted that back then, a lot more people stayed home on Saturday nights than is the case today. Thus, a lot more people were around to watch TV which is why there were some extremely popular shows on that night from roughly 1950 through the early 1990’s.

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