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Ratings History, 1986-87 Edition -- Overall Ratings Down With NBC Claiming a Large Victory


Writing History Again by Bridger Cunningham

1986-87 experienced a downward Nielsen trend with all networks losing between 4-7% of their audiences.  NBC's loss was minor, as it inflated 20% the prior season, leaving plenty of space to paint the top of the charts blue.  CBS also lost ground, yet placed in a sterling 2nd place, while ABC continued its downward plunge which began during the 1984 spring.  Sitcoms continued their prominence, grabbing 11 of the top 20 places, while the suds began to wash out in the drain and rinse in the watershed.  Nightly movies experienced various fortunes, with most staked in the front of the pack.

TRENDS FROM 1986-87 --

What Was Hot -- NBC, and NBC Sitcoms.  Movies provided scheduling solutions, with 6 of the 9 offerings landing betwixt 15th-49th Places.  Upscale shows perched higher in the Nielsens and were no longer relegated to soapy writing, rather displaying polished characters and crisp dialogue. Senior-skewing shows experienced a surge this season with all three networks bolstering at least one helping of top-20 shows featuring leads aging 50+.  Family-style sitcoms becoming an increasing demand.

What Was Tepid -- Once again, CBS was just there.  It managed to claim 6 of the top 20 shows for the season, yet had little emerge which managed to shine this season.  CBS soaps managed to remain ahead of the top-30, yet paled compared to the 1983-84 season.  Shows which formed in the early 80's began to erode, albeit most held respectable ratings.

What Was Cold -- ABC again dropped below the chill factor as its suds sank and most of its sitcom helpings landed in the bottom of the barrel.  Freshman news outlets tanked and were dispensed like an outlandish soap twist.  Revamping and moving struggling shows failed to ignite interests, as well as Friday viewers becoming obsolete.