Friday, June 19, 2015

The Highest Rated TV Shows

Nielsen Media Research has tracked the numbers for radio audiences since 1947. They have tracked television audiences since 1950. Here are some of the #1 broadcast television shows over the years.

1950-51 Texaco Star Theatre
61.6 rating, NBC, starred Milton Berle, known as "Mr. Television".

1952-53 I Love Lucy
67.3 rating (the highest in history), CBS, starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

1960-61 Gunsmoke
37.3, CBS, starred James Arness.

1970-71 Marcus Welby, MD
29.6, ABC, starred Robert Young and James Brolin.

1980-81 Dallas
34.5, CBS, starred Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Victoria Principal and more.

1990-91 Cheers
21.3, NBC, starred Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Kelsey Grammer and more.
This show was a key part of NBC's "Must See TV" lineup which also included shows like The Cosby Show and Family Ties.

2000-01 Survivor: The Australian Outback
17.4, CBS, starring Jeff Probst.
This was a monster hit in the reality genre, which continues to be popular to this day.

2010-11 American Idol
14.5, Fox, starring Simon Cowell.
Actually, from the 2005-06 season to the 2010-11 season, American Idol was the #1 show on broadcast television.

2014-15 Sunday Night Football
14.8, NBC, starring commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.

TV is not the novelty that it once was. In the early days of television there was no competition from cable TV, broadcast was the only option. Today the broadcast TV landscape is facing serious competition. Many get their entertainment from cable channels, You Tube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or other streaming services. Over time, the broadcast numbers will continue to shrink more and more. A rating of 15 is impressive by today's standards, but 25 years ago, it would not be a strong number. Broadcast outlets are shifting more emphasis to the internet as the habits of consumers change.

*Information from

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