Friday, May 26, 2017

#1 in 2006: American Idol

American Idol would continue its reign atop the ratings in 2006. Its winners would never scale the top of the music charts again, but the show would still make an impact on the television landscape.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

#1 in 2005: American Idol

Yet again another unwanted and unloved television show would climb to the top of the heap. American Idol would get rejected by ABC, NBC, CBS, UPN, the WB and even Fox. Fox owner Rupert Murdoch's daughter saw the British version of the show and recommended it for the network. Even so, Fox ignored her. Only after Mr. Murdoch stepped in did the network grudgingly pick up the show, relegating it to the slow summer months. The show started slow but built up its audience over the summer of 2001. The unwanted show had become a phenomenon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#1 in 2004: CSI

The procedural era hit its zenith in 2004 as the show that started it all remained firmly on the top of the heap. The show that would eventually supplant it as CBS' biggest hit- NCIS, was still just a solid performer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#1 in 2003: CSI

CSI would spend another year on top, spawning spinoffs and a flood of other crime procedurals. The popularity of the show even rubbed off on its predecessor Law & Order which saw a bump in its own popularity. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

#1 in 2002: CSI

The show had been rejected by ABC and wasn't really wanted by CBS either. Relegated to Fridays and considered a second tier series in comparison to CBS' The Fugitive reboot, CSI didn't have many cheerleaders around Hollywood. It would eventually eclipse everything else that CBS premiered during its first season and eventually became a franchise juggernaut.

Friday, May 19, 2017

#1 in 2001: Friends

They had been a phenomenon for many years, but this would be the first time they sat atop the Nielsens. The show almost died an early death when the cast held the show for ransom after it became a big success, but NBC kept shoveling money at them. The show's stars would never reach the same heights afterwards, but the sow made them all extremely wealthy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#1 in 2000: Survivor

Survivor had come out from nowhere to become a surprise hit for CBS. Nobody was expecting the show to be much more than a cheap way to produce summer programming. Perhaps it was a lack of competition, but as the weeks wore on, the show captured America's attention before becoming the biggest show of the year. Its huge success would spawn a ton of competitors and establish "reality" programming as a competitive television genre.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

#1 Show in 1999: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

1999 brought an unexpected juggernaut to number one- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The game show hosted by Regis Philbin catapulted ABC from last to first place and inspired merchandise, video games and two theme park attractions. The show's stratospheric popularity would burn out quickly, however. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#1 Show in 1998: ER

With Seinfeld off the air, NBC worried about its Thursday night juggernaut called 'Must See TV'. The franchise would live on, however, with ER returning to number one.

Monday, May 15, 2017

#1 Show in 1997: Seinfeld

Despite almost getting canceled several times, Seinfeld would persevere and go out on top. Its buzzy final season wouldn't end the way its fans had hoped, but it still would propel itself to the top of the ratings heap.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

#1 in 1996: ER

The dramatic ER made Michael Crichton a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. As the creator of the show, he cemented his importance to Warner Brothers as a top producer of hits, which included the box office smash Twister which he wrote with his wife Anne-Marie Martin. ER proved that he could do more than just write science fiction novels.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#1 in 1995: ER

ER rode NBC's juggernaut Thursday lineup all the way to number one in 1995. The show would propel George Clooney all the way to superstardom. The show would, bizarrely enough, not be the first show named ER that starred George Clooney. He had been in a short-lived sitcom with the same name about ten years earlier on CBS.

Friday, May 5, 2017

#1 in 1994: Seinfeld

NBC would get rewarded yet again for its patience. Seinfeld didn't originally set the world on fire when it premiered. It very nearly got canceled and wasn't exactly a favored project. It would eventually catch on with audiences and provide a much needed boost to NBC after its top rated 1980's sitcoms started to leave the airwaves.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#1 in 1992: 60 Minutes

The country would again find comfort in watching elderly reporters cover the events of the day in 1992. Don't you hate it when hipsters try to be ironic by making fun of television institutions?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

#1 in 1991: 60 Minutes

The geriatric 60 Minutes would inexplicably enter a second era of relevance in the early 1990's. It would be the last stand with its most recognizable lineup of reporters.

Monday, May 1, 2017

#1 in 1990: Cheers

Cheers didn't have an auspicious start. The show about a recovering alcoholic who ran a Boston bar almost got canceled in its early years. NBC chose to be patient with the show and that patience eventually paid off. When the network entered its golden era, the show finally found the audience it always deserved.