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Ratings History 1987-88 -- Downward Trends. NBC Still 1st, ABC Rebounds to 2nd After 4-Year Drought, CBS Sees All-Time Low in 3rd Place. And FOX is a Joke


Written Marveling at Dynamic Changes by Bridger Cunningham

Ratings drops continued into the 1987-88 season.  Well, for 80's sized standards, that is.  In spite of "meager" returns from the market, NBC still ruled by a wide margin as its four top sitcoms crowned the charts.  That's old hat, or more appropriately old crown.  The real story rests in the remaining not two, but three networks.  ABC experienced a 7-percent loss in overall viewers from the reason before dropping below the 13 mark.  They were forced to cry on their silver booby prize of, 2nd place!  A foreign concept since spring 1984, ABC broke its curse.  The opposite fortune afforded new lows for CBS, which had never seen 3rd place for the first time in its 47 years on the air.  And FOX experienced double-digit growth due to additional affiliates.  Too bad its average fit in multiples of 3 and 4 inside the big-three's ratings.


Trending Hot -- Word of FOX's upcoming prominence remained just that.  A hot word.  NBC burned fuego, again.  Sitcoms on NBC always remained too hot to touch in the 80's.  This year, however, ABC began to heat up due to its Family First fit.  Friday nights became the third fit for 30-minute shows, as the network finally figured out what to do with its debits in spring 1988 and developed an investment which would pay off well through the 1990's.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays on ABC and Thursdays and Saturdays on NBC were where the action was at.  Just as surviving mid-network jumps trended the season before, NBC succeeded in mid-marquee star jumps.  Cheers flourished without Shelley Long, and Valerie exploded minus Valerie Harper.

Trending Tepid -- Mixing up the schedule gave mixed results this season.  CBS moving its sitcoms around failed, while ABC flaunted success.  Growing Pains' nickel-mighty status woke up wavering Wednesdays, as well as launch two mid-season successes.  NBC Also moved its fares around with mild results.

Trending Cold -- CBS.  Once the silver standard, the network set an all-time low in 3rd Place.  Soaps jumped the shark, with Hotel closing for reservations, Dynasty slipping further into bipolar disillusions, and Dallas dumping following Victoria Principle's exit.  Daytime fares dominated, whilst primetime fares plummeted.