1966-67 Sitcom Scorecard -- Lucy and CBS Slapstick Rule The Ratings Charts

Written A Half Century Later by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for the lucy show openingBehold a rare treasure trove of illusive sitcom data.  As promised, TV Ratings Guide continues its ongoing efforts to deliver comprehensive ratings data as it becomes available.  Previously, data before 1984 was non-existent in a comprehensive table or list. The September 2, 2017 bulldozed that Nielsen wall, breaking into the 1983-84 data.  The overall Ratings History will follow shortly, but not before reporting another leading development in TVRG's ongoing ratings anthology series.  After thoroughly researching the internet for ratings, a Star Trek fan check site unveiled valuable data which resurrected a new chain of ratings to report, as they located valued Nielsen Rankings from the 30th-70th Nielsen rankings from an August 1967 article from American Television history.  When peering further, not only did this article possess the data from 1966-67, but also had 1964-66 data intact.  Nielsen ratings are not revealed, but ranks and shares are reported.  This finding, along with a listing of renewed and cancelled shows for the season, crafted enough data for TVRG to compose a Sitcom Scorecard and Ratings History for the year.

Behold a modest season of sitcom entries, comprising 29 of the 99 television helpings offered.  Genres which were on display during this tumultuous year were sitcoms, westerns, superhero franchises, soap operas, newscasts, dramas, action dramas, movie nights, some reality fares and variety shows.  1967 was a volatile year in history.  The Vietnam War accelerated in urgency, civil race riots engulfed troubled towns like Detroit and Watts, and civil rights became a pressing issue as movements for equality were front and center. The youthful counterculture movement questioned the logic of traditional American values, leading to hippies, progressive music, the Women's Lib movement and war protests against the draft and conflict.

In the wake of America being in a tumultuous state, several tuned into their newly colorized televisions to take an escape with simple laughs.  Andy Griffith lead the charge, making a 7th consecutive season of traditional values a welcome departure as folks yearned for their towns to be as happy as Mayberry, North Carolina.  The Lucy Show landed in 4th Place and drilled CBS into 1st Place for a 12th consecutive season.  Lucy took on the urban slapstick, while her sitcom neighbors such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and Gomer Pyle placed silly laughs in an urban setting.  The only silly-com sent to the cancellation pasture was Gilligan's Island, which managed to live on in syndication success.

ABC had their own success stories to write to viewers' homes with as Bewitched delivered a successful 3rd season.  Batman cooled after a red-hot debut the previous season as both entries fell out of the top 30.  Nonetheless, the show delivered successful ratings.  Marlo Thomas' That Girl became the next sensation to sweep the 3rd network, and F-Troop plummeted.  NBC's comedy fortunes paled compared to its competition as only Get Smart cracked the top 30.  The network's 2nd place success rest in other genres.


1. http://fbibler.chez.com/tvstats/by_5_yr_period/top_programs_1965-1970.html
2. American Television History, August 1967 -- http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Television-Magazine/Television-1967-Aug.pdf
3. http://startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-truth-about-star-trek-and-ratings.html

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