1996-97 Ratings History

Written Mocking Lead-In-Dependent Ratings by Bridger Cunningham (former TVRG Writer)
Few breakout pilots took the television world by storm, and the ratings remained steady for all six networks.  NBC led the charge with Thursdays taking the top 6 ranks.  ABC slid back to 3rd after 8 years of growth as their sitcom blocks aged or failed to generate new life.  CBS attempted wholesome "Welcome Home" campaigns to go along with its lighthearted dramas, managing to gain the edge over ABC.  FOX experienced a 15% drop in its ratings as its soaps aged and it lost longstanding sitcoms Martin and Married... With Children (the very show that gained the network exposure).  And WB and UPN delivered another forgettable season free of defining TV Shows.  

To check out other years' ratings, visit the Ratings History Library. 

Trending Hot -- In with the old, out with the new -- ABC, NBC and CBS ruled the roost.  ABC Tuesdays and Wednesdays delivered solid, Must See TV Thursdays made NBC red-hot, and ABC's TGIF hung in there with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch creating a new sensation in the tired block.  News was everywhere, because audiences couldn't be happy the social state of the country was stable.  CBS had few prosperous fortunes, yet Touched by an Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger, Chicago Hope and Early Edition all registered in the top 50.  And The X-Files gave FOX its first-ever top 20 hit. 
Trending Tepid -- Overall, CBS Mondays registered steady, minus a few clunkers like Ink.  However, their sitcom threads grew tattered due to several failed freshman sitcoms.  The one grace the network offered was it renewed a low-rated Everybody Loves Raymond after an ill-advised Friday scheduling.  FOX soaps held steady overall, with Party of Five boasting the largest gains. 
Trending Cold -- Out with the new, in with the old.  FOX, UPN and WB experienced few silver linings.  FOX sitcoms remained troubled with King of the Hill and The Simpsons performing well, while MWC received an unceremonious sendoff despite putting FOX on the radar.  WB launched sleepers 7th Heaven and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, both of which garnered critical acclaim and had to prove themselves in the Nielsen race. 

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