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Neil

I Love Lucy Prime Time Reruns Ratings

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What follows is a very wordy post that actually boils down to one question:

Were prime time network series consisting entirely of reruns excluded from the year-end Nielsen tally of top 30 shows?

 

Very few series got a prime time run consisting of all reruns.  The half-hour version of Gunsmoke was retitled "Marshall Dillon" and aired Tuesdays at 7:30 for three seasons (simultaneous to the full hour new episodes Saturday night).  Father Knows Best continued for two full seasons on CBS (through 1962) and another season on ABC before ending its prime time run in 1963.   "Topper"'s third year was entirely reruns, having ceased production at the end of its 2nd season even though it was still a highly-rated show (#24, an IMPROVEMENT over its first season).  As we all know "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" was run by CBS for 5 summers from 1962 to 1967 (skipping 1966), but LDCH wasn't originally officially a series and 13 episodes made it perfect for a summer replacement run (1st year for the Danny Thomas/Andy Griffith hour, the next 2 for Jackie Gleason, then for the Danny Kaye Show, and finally in place of a cancelled series "International Showtime").  Plus CBS owned it.

 

I Love Lucy post 1957 CBS evening run:

During the 57-58 season I Love Lucy reruns were scheduled at 7:30 on Wednesday.

The 58-59 season: Thursdays at 7:30.

Plus it bounced around spending the summer of 1958 in its old 9:00 Monday time slot replacing Danny Thomas for the summer.  It was absent from the 59-60 schedule but during the summer of 1960 "Lucy is Connecticut" ran on Sunday nights.

 

In the frustratingly incomplete and rarely listed Nielsen ratings, NONE of these rerun series made any  season's top 30 tallies.  Which would lead me to think that 1) they ranked lower than #30 or  2) (and this is more likely) for some reason, series consisting of reruns were not included in the tally.  Though it makes no sense why they wouldn't be.

 

Reruns of I Love Lucy were new episodes to most markets because the number of TV stations grew from 1951 to 1957 (My hometown Portland, a major market, did not get a TV station until the fall of 1952 and it was a while before there was a 2nd).  And up to that time, most ILL episodes were only shown once. The series was replaced in the summer.

 

For its 1957 time slot, ILL's competition was formidable: NBC's Wagon Train in its first season (during the real heyday of Westerns on TV) and one of ABC's few hits "Disneyland".  "Wagon" was #23 for the 57-58 season but the next year without ILL as competition, it zoomed to #2  a position it held for 3 seasons before becoming #1 in 61-62.   "Disney" was #13 in the 56-57 season (after being #6 and #4, its first 2 seasons), but is absent altogether from the top 30 during the 57-58 season. 

Which would lead one to think, ILL's ratings were quite high.  If not trouncing the competition, at least putting a major dent in the their audience shares.

Harder to tell in 58-59. The competition was ABC's "Leave it to Beaver" and something called "Jefferson Drum" on NBC (yet another dreary dusty Western).  Though it ran for 6 seasons and is well-remembered and well-regarded (and holds up quite well today), "Beaver" did not make a single top 30 list for any of those years.

 

LDCH's ratings were high enough that it was brought back every summer and was the last regularly scheduled b/w series on any network (1967).  The only reference to its ratings I could find is a note in our paper's TV column about the ratings for the month of August 1962, in which LDCH was #2 after "Ed Sullivan".  The 1963 unceremoniously dumped "Glynis" replaced The Lucy Show in the summer of 1965 and did very well.  It was #6 for one week I could find.  You'd think CBS would have tried to revive it; AND were perhaps kicking themselves because obviously "Glynis" could have been moved instead of cancelled.  It could have done much better than the series that followed The Lucy Show in the 64-65 season "Man Happy Returns".

 

SOME DAY I'm going to get access to complete ratings information but so far it's been hard to find.  And I will share with the ONE other person who is interested.

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I love these in depth ratings posts. Especially something like this (prime time reruns being excluded from nielsens) which I've never heard before.

I don't know that that's the case.  If it's true, it doesn't make sense but neither does the ratings slide of these shows compared to their previous runs.   Father Knows Best continued in its same time slot, and assuming they didn't rerun the previous season, it's doubtful that the general public even knew they were all reruns.  And I love Lucy was not yet run 5-times a week, so if the episodes weren't new to people that were at  the very least, not as familiar as they are to us.  You'd think anyone with a TV that could receive CBS would be watching it!   They'd rather watch "Wagon Train"??

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I was wrong about Father Knows Best continuing in its Monday 8:30 time slot after its last new season.  For 60-61 it aired on Tuesday and started out 61-62 on Wednesdays with Robert Young's new series "Window on Main Street" in FKB's old slot.  But mid-season, CBS did a "swish apar-ments" with FKB and floundering "Window", so FKB ended its CBS run in its old slot, replaced in the fall by "YOU KNOW WHAT!"

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I was wrong about Father Knows Best continuing in its Monday 8:30 time slot after its last new season.  For 60-61 it aired on Tuesday and started out 61-62 on Wednesdays with Robert Young's new series "Window on Main Street" in FKB's old slot.  But mid-season, CBS did a "swish apar-ments" with FKB and floundering "Window", so FKB ended its CBS run in its old slot, replaced in the fall by "YOU KNOW WHAT!"

Me and the Chimp??? My Mother the Car??! MISTER ED!!!??? :blink:

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My Dad got Briticanna Book of the Year 1958 to 1964

 

It has top rated programs from winter and summer for two weeks eNing (date).

 

#5 tied Top Ten Lucy Shows (9/6/1958) 13,572,000 homes

#10 Desilu Playhouse (9/6/1959) 11,170,000 homes

#2 Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (9/9/1962) 14,840,000 homed

#7 Comedy Hour Special (couldn't find this show online so maybe Lucy-Desi one) (9/15/1963) 11,590,000 homes

 

For fun winter viewing

I Love Lucy #5 (1/21/1956) 15,374,000 homes

I Love Lucy #1 (1/26/1957) 18,510,000 homes

The Lucy Show #6 (2/10/1963) 15,388,000 homes.

 

It is cool the Lucy Show and I Love Lucy (56) have same amount of viewers. Both are classic.

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