1971-72 Ratings History

Written Questioning Networks Changing Direction by Bridger Cunningham (former TVRG Writer)

Following the notorious Rural Purge of 1971, which extirpated everything with a tree or homespun character, the results were in.  CBS reigned in 1st place for a 17th season, having narrowly evaded a takeover from NBC the previous year.  The network treated simpler shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres and Mayberry RFD like an outdated trend, and somehow stayed in the pocket book with Gunsmoke.  This show, along with Bonanza, remained one of the last testament of the 50's westerns.  Another 50's icon, Lucille Ball, fit in with the urbane crowd as Lucille Carter and landed in the top 10. 
ABC managed to outnumber NBC for top 30 positions as three movie evenings took to audiences who loved the old classics not in theaters.  NBC cornered the Black American demographic by launching salty sitcom Sanford and Son in 1972, landing in 6th Place.  The results of CBS' rural purge left them owning less than half of the top-30 albeit they still sealed another year in 1st Place .

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

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