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1970-71 Top 30 -- The Rural Purge Shoots Bullets and Hires Loggers Through the TV Landscape


Written Sighing at the End of an Era by Bridger Cunningham

Notice several red bullet holes in this chart?  1971 instigated a change in tone for television.  CBS, running in threat of losing its prized 1st place status by a resurgent NBC, decided to part with "rural" themed nods from the 50's and 60's to keep up with the changing times.  It managed to spare Gunsmoke as its ratings shot high, but the casualties took our The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Mayberry RFD, Hee Haw and the Jim Nabors Hour.  With the Vietnam War raging on and counter culture front and center, rural folks in hapless situations didn't fit the times.

Also spurring CBS' saddle was ABC claiming the 1st Place show in their history with Marcus Welby, MD.  Relevant younger professionals were the audience the networks wanted.  Doctors, police officers and modern women working replaced traditional families with a stay-at-home wife recklessly spending money.  Movie evenings took 20-percent of the top-30 chart, along with several CBS sitcoms still burning strong.  1971 changed the game.


Source -- http://fbibler.chez.com/tvstats/by_5_yr_period/top_programs_1970-1975.html