Friday, March 31, 2017

#1 in 1977: Laverne & Shirley


Garry Marshall's winning streak would continue beyond his wildest dreams. Laverne & Shirley spun-off from Happy Days and became the rare spinoff whose popularity exceeded its very popular parent show.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

#1 in 1976: Happy Days


The mid-1970's American television viewer was ready for a more nostalgic look at life and Happy Days was there to oblige. Originally an unsold pilot burned off as part of ABC's Love American Style, Happy Days was given a second chance after the success of American Graffiti. Producer Garry Marshall would turn this massive success into a television empire.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

#1 in 1975: All in the Family


All in the Family would spend its last year on top in 1975. The shifting political climate and the growing distrust of authority brought about by Richard Nixon's scandals meant that audiences were ready to flee towards more homespun entertainment. The tide would shift towards feelgood TV for the rest of the decade.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#1 in 1974: All in the Family


All in the Family would continue to be a juggernaut for CBS. Producer Norman Lear would become an unstoppable force and his crown jewel would produce a ton of spinoffs- among them: Good Times, Maude and The Jeffersons. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

#1 in 1973: All in the Family


The success of All in the Family brought about a renaissance in television comedy. CBS had taken a huge risk by canceling its successful lineup of "hickcoms" to rebuild itself. Many were looking for the network to falter, but the risk paid huge dividends as the network found great success with its newer, hipper lineup.

Friday, March 24, 2017

#1 in 1972: All in the Family


Despite its more adult content, All in the Family would inspire a trove of licensed merchandise. Books that appealed to those who didn't realize Archie Bunker wasn't the hero on this show were printed up and (more bizarrely) even an anatomically correct doll was produced, modeled after the Bunker grandson.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#1 in 1971: All in the Family


All in th Family, the show that nobody thought should even air on television began its record breaking run on CBS in 1971. The show would stay atop the Nielsens for five years. All in the Family was one of the new breed of sitcoms that CBS was staking its future on. It would succeed beyond its wildest dreams.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#1 in 1970: Marcus Welby


Marcus Welby, MD would become ABC's first number one show, riding a wave of interest in medical dramas to the top of the charts. Starring television royalty Robert Young as the avuncular Dr. Welby, the show would bring awards and recognition to both Young and his co-star James Brolin.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rest In Peace, Chuck Barris 1929 - 2017

#1 in 1969: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In


Despite being seen as a more adult show these days because of the writhing, bikini clad dancers and risqué humor, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In was viewed as more of a family show at the time. In its third season, it was still at number one and the network chose to take advantage by producing a line of merchandise for children, including toys.

Monday, March 20, 2017

#1 in 1968: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In


The comedy found in The Andy Griffith Show and Laugh-In could not be more dissimilar, so it is surprising that the shows' respective reigns at the top of the Nielsens were just one year apart. Begun as a one-off special, the airing was so successful that it was instantly picked up as a series. The vaudeville style production successfully brought the format to the hip and now 1960's.

Friday, March 17, 2017

#1 in 1967: The Andy Griffith Show


Andy Griffith had been entertaining America for almost ten years when he decided to turn in his badge and ride off into television history. While his show had been a solid performer, it wouldn't reach number one until its final season.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

#1 in 1966: Bonanza


As the 1960's wore on, "Western Fatigue" began to set in. Bonanza was still on top, but it wouldn't be long before westerns fell out of favor. While the ensuing decline would doom the various movie ranches that sprang up around Hollywood (just in time for urban sprawl to overtake many of them) Bonanza's Lake Tahoe paradise would prove to be more enduring, surviving the television show by decades.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#1 in 1965: Bonanza


As the 1960's continued, American audiences continued to seek escapism in the form of westerns. Bonanza continued its reign atop the Nielsen Ratings, becoming so popular that its Lake Tahoe exterior sets were opened as a tourist attraction, operating for decades after the show left the air.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#1 in 1964: Bonanza


America's attention would turn back to westerns as the show Bonanza took the number one spot. Veteran actor Lorne Greene played the patriarch of the Cartwright clan whose expansive ranch north of Lake Tahoe encompassed some of the most expensive and beautiful acreage anywhere.

Monday, March 13, 2017

#1 in 1963: Beverly Hillbillies


The Clampetts craze would continue, as The Beverly Hillbillies would again sit on top of the ratings chart. In a strange twist of fate, the copyrights to the first and most of the second season were never renewed, meaning that they are currently considered to be in the public domain.

Friday, March 10, 2017

#1 in 1962: The Beverly Hillbillies


In 1962, CBS would welcome its first "hickcom"- The Beverly Hillbillies, that would dominate television for the next ten years between itself and its top rated spinoffs. The franchise would get so big that it would have to get forced off television when CBS decided to eliminate its rural programming in favor of newer, hipper material.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

#1 in 1961: Wagon Train


The glut of westerns on television would begin to bring the ratings of all of them down, though Gunsmoke would first get taken down from its top spot by Wagon Train, a sort of western Love Boat in which the protagonists are traveling from Missouri to California, meeting new people and obstacles every week. This would be the only season the show would take the number one spot.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

#1 in 1960: Gunsmoke


Gunsmoke would have its final year as the number one show in America. The show's popularity didn't really decline, though the glut of Westerns on television would begin to affect all of them in the ratings.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#1 in 1959: Gunsmoke


Miss Kitty and the Gunsmoke gang would enter their final two years on top- coincidentally their final two years as a thirty minute show. Soon a cavalcade of westerns would hit the airwaves.