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TVRG Historic Ratings Editorial -- Take a Tour of Past Season Ratings (And What Is to Come)


Written Educating Folks on the History of TV by Bridger Cunningham

Welcome folks, as I take a departure from tone and address you directly.  It has been a long, blistering summer in my Phoenix home, and my project of bringing historic ratings to you the viewers is nearing the tail-end.  It all started at the close of Week 37 in my Sitcom Scorecard feature, and I had no data to report to you as the season concluded.  I pondered ways to bring you a weekly article with little to discuss besides reruns we all digested this season.  I cared about as much as viewers did seeing performance on reruns.  I pondered doing pieces on existing shows' casts, but then I stuck to my stubborn conviction that this is primarily a ratings site, not an entertainment and lifestyle outlet like Deadline or Variety.

Then, I decided to surprise folks by reporting data from the 1989-90 season featuring the sitcoms.  The results were encouraging, and the vision for bringing data from seasons past formed.  Viewer feedback was positive, so I continued on and decided to do another more random piece on the 1992-93 and 1995-96 seasons.  Both were influential shifts in taste and preference and gave you a view of what went on in the sitcom world, shifting from Cosby, to Roseanne to Seinfeld.

So How Did We Wind Up With All Of This Data?

I wanted to next profile the 1982-83 season as it was Cheers made an underwhelming debut that season, and the only data posted was a generic top-30 post. Ratings data pre-90's was elusive as anything before 1984 never disclosed a complete list of show rankings, so I posted the 1984-85 sitcom scorecard as it featured the debut of The Cosby Show and a turnaround for the embattled NBC network.  Then poster Tommie requested I do a full display of the entire season including sitcoms as he is a soap affectionado and wanted to see how 80's primetime soaps stacked in the lineup.  The results were just as encouraging as a new set of reader expressed interest.  So my early summer arc expanded to a full-fledged project, and an opportunity to give you the viewers ratings to anticipate throughout the week.

My 80's expansion picked up traction, and poster Nicholas expressed interest in the 1990's.  I had already stacked up cards from 1984-88, and I needed a change of pace after burning out my writing fuse.  So then came 1998-2001 in Sitcom Scorecards and Ratings History developed two chains as I jumped creative directions.  Historic ratings data was not easy to locate.  Some sites had it laying in plain site, then others I had to scrape the net for hours just to locate that elusive season.  So I began profiling pre-1984 seasons with "Top 30" posts and have added opening titles for most shows in the comments section.  These ratings will carry back to 1950 and currently date back to 1970.  Poster Gena enjoyed one article's serendipitous display of classic opening title sequences for TV shows, and now this will be a piece delivered exclusively to the Top 30 History cards.

Crafting a Comprehensive Library

After compiling so much history, I lobbied our site founder to create a library for the historic ratings.


His solution was compiling these in our site's "Ratings Database" pulldown.  When viewers rest their cursor on "Ratings Database", they have the option to either check out sitcoms or overall history. Once you click on either category, you get a comprehensive list, sorted by year and article:



I continued my trek to deliver you historic ratings until the first blocks formed.  A special thank you is in store for site founder TheRatingsJunkie as he has graciously endured my requests for continual updates and completes them as available.  Top 30 and Ratings History have been lumped together under "Ratings History".

Articles Completed by TVRG:

Ratings History:

1970-89      1990-92     1993-95    1997-2001

Sitcom Scorecards:

1984-2001

TV Ratings Guide is working fast to compile comprehensive data, yet has the following posted in the main article access areas and will be joining the library soon:

Sitcom Scorecards:

2001-02 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2001-02-sitcom-scorecard-nbc-and-cbs.html
2002-03 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2002-03-sitcom-scorecard-reality-tv.html
2003-04 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2003-04-sitcom-scorecard-new-lows-for.html
2004-05 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2004-05-sitcom-scorecard-year-of-tv.html
2005-06 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2005-06-sitcom-scorecard-hills-run-red.html
2006-07 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2006-07-sitcom-scorecard-sitcoms-become.html
2007-08 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2007-08-sitcom-scorecard-office-merges.html
2011-12 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2011-12-sitcom-scorecard-2-broke-girls.html
2012-13 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2012-13-sitcom-scorecard-nerds-rule-and.html
2013-14 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2013-14-sitcom-scorecard-brooklyn-99.html
2014-15 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2014-15-sitcom-scorecard-goldbergs-and.html
2015-16 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2015-16-sitcom-scorecard-are-these-last.html
2016-17 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2016-17-sitcom-scorecard-sitcoms-are.html

Ratings History:

1970-71 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1970-71-top-30-rural-purge-shoots.html
1971-72 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1971-72-ratings-fallout-of-rural-purge.html
1972-73 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1972-73-top-30-unwarranted-religious.html
1973-74 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1973-74-top-30-abc-wrangles-10-entries.html
1974-75 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1974-75-top-30-gunsmoke-ends-20-year.html
1995-96 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/1995-96-ratings-history-nbc-reclaims.html
1996-97 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/1996-97-ratings-history-no-changes-in.html
2001-02 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2001-02-ratings-history-reality-tv.html
2002-03 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/07/2002-03-scorecard-power-struggles-rope.html
2003-04 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2003-04-ratings-history-new-records-as.html
2004-05 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2012-13-sitcom-scorecard-nerds-rule-and.html
2005-06 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2005-06-ratings-history-upn-and-wb-take.html
2014-15 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2014-15-ratings-history-abc-experiences.html
2015-16 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2015-16-ratings-history-abcs-brief.html
2016-17 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2016-17-ratings-history-nbc-makes.html

Soap History: (New Feature, Pulldown in Ratings Database Coming Soon)

2006-07 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2006-07-soap-ratings-one-more-soap-ends.html
2007-08 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2007-08-soap-ratings-wga-strike-and.html
2008-09 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2008-09-soap-ratings-power-outage.html
2009-10 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2009-10-mercury-in-retrograde-leaves-as.html
2010-11 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2010-11-soap-ratings-end-of-era-all-all.html
2011-12 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2011-12-soap-ratings-one-life-to-live.html
2012-13 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2012-13-new-york-purge-cools-most.html
2013-14 - http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/2013-14-soap-ratings-gh-ticks-up-y.html

To summarize, TVRG now houses 75 vintage ratings cards, with another 90-92 coming.  We have 1984-2008 and 2011-17 Sitcom Scorecards (30 Articles), 1970-89, 1990-92, 1993-2006 and 2014-17 Ratings History (37 Articles) and 2006-14 Soap History (8 cards).

How Do I Create These Articles?

Each Sitcom Scorecard takes approximately 6 hours to compose as I must locate the data, type/compose in my color grid, calculate the averages and dissect the sitcom data first before composing my articles.  Ratings History requires less time as the data is composed; each article takes 60-90 minutes to compose.  Top 30 entries take 45-60 minutes to compose, as I also populate historic TV opening title sequences in the comments sections.  And Soaps take 20-30 minutes.  Here are the steps to craft each set of articles by year:

Sitcom Scorecards (Approximately 6 Hours):

This process is inclusive of the Sitcom Scorecard and Ratings History:

1. Research the internet for comprehensive ratings data.
2. Verify data before composing my list.
3. Type/compose my charts, rank by rank.
4. Profile proper networks, genres and seasons by color.  ABC = green, CBS = red, FOX = yellow, NBC = Blue, UPN = orange, WB = purple, CW = magenta and DuMont = brown.
5. Profile the season's closing status: Renewed, Cancelled, Special (sports, movies, etc), Unknown (no determination made).
6. Break Down Ranges, often by Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 40, Top 50, Top 100 (where applicable), Anemic or other classifications (FOX)
7. After the list is composed, network averages are calculated.

Once this list is composed, data is extracted for the sitcoms:

8. Extract only sitcoms for a comprehensive list.
9. Break down by list, generally with ranks 1st-50th Place in "Leading the Pack", ranks 51st-100th in "The Middle of the Pack" and remaining ranks in variously titled classifications.
10. Calculate averages.
11. Write the template to post, often with a time appropriate avatar, my signature crafted byline, two portions for analysis and a source.
12. Enter the source of my data.
13. Enter the colored charts.
14. Compose the articles.
15. If creatively appropriate, insert extra visuals.
16. Proofread the article, then post for your pleasure.

Ratings History (Approximately 60-90 Minutes)

1. Write the template to post, often with a standard red/yellow/green traffic light avatar, my signature crafted byline, two portions for analysis, trends and a source.
2. Enter the source of my data.
3. Enter the colored charts.
4. Compose the articles.
5. If creatively appropriate, insert extra visuals.
6. Proofread the article, then post for your pleasure.

Top 30 History (Approximately 45-60 Minutes)

1. Research the internet for comprehensive ratings data.
2. Verify data before composing my list.
3. Type/compose my charts, rank by rank.
4. Profile proper networks, genres and seasons by color.  ABC = green, CBS = red, FOX = yellow, NBC = Blue, UPN = orange, WB = purple, CW = magenta and DuMont = brown.
5. Profile the season's closing status: Renewed, Cancelled, Special (sports, movies, etc), Unknown (no determination made).
6. Write the template to post with a standard red/yellow/green traffic light avatar, my signature crafted byline, analysis and a source.
7. Enter the source of my data.
8. Enter the colored charts.
9. Compose the articles.
10. If creatively appropriate, insert extra visuals.
11. Proofread the article, then post for your pleasure.
12. Locate available opening title clips in the comments section.

Soap History (Approximately 20-30 Minutes)

1. Research the internet for comprehensive ratings data.
2. Verify data before composing my list.
3. Type/compose my charts, rank by rank.
4. Profile proper networks and seasons by color.  ABC = green, CBS = red, NBC = Blue.
5. Profile the season's closing status: Renewed, Cancelled, Special (sports, movies, etc), Unknown (no determination made).
6. Locate the schedule for the soaps in the respective season.
7. Write the template to post with a year-appropriate avatar, my signature crafted byline, analysis, schedule and a source.
7. Enter the source of my data.
8. Enter the colored charts.
9. Enter the schedule.
10. Compose the articles.
11. If creatively appropriate, insert extra visuals.
12. Proofread the article, then post for your pleasure.

So What Is To Come?

I have set a tentative goal over this long weekend to finish 2009-11 Sitcom Scorecards.  Data for 2008-09 is difficult at best to locate and I have retired my effort to research after hours of effort.   The month of September has the following priorities to be written for you:

1. Complete the 2009-11 Sitcom Scorecards (Tentative Goal: September 4, 2017)
2. Complete the 2006-08 and 2009-14 Ratings History Cards (Tentative Goal: September 10, 2017)
3. Complete the 1950-70 Top 30 History Cards (Tentative Goal: September 24, 2017)
4. Compose the 1950-2006 and 2014-17 Soap History Cards (Ongoing Effort)
5. Profile Newfound Data (Ongoing Effort)

Starting September 13, I will attempt to profile weekly NFL Scorecards as ratings become available, launched with a Historic Superbowl Scorecard profiling 1967-2017 games on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.  This will siphon my efforts to report on ratings history, albeit priorities 1-3 should be complete by premiere week on September 25, 2017.  After priorities 1-3 are completed, I will revert efforts to profiling my in-season weekly Sitcom Scorecard, NFL Scorecard and a potential Drama Scorecard as the 2017-18 season flows underway.

I will continue profiling the rich history of soaps.  However, website traffic indicates this is a niche genre with less interest, albeit the data is readily available and will be profiled.  Future Soap History articles will be syndicated directly to the Ratings Database instead of displayed in the main traffic area.  As I compose more material, I will post weekly updates featuring announcements of added entries.

Future considerations for Historic Ratings include sports and other data as it becomes available.  Next Summer (or during available times this season), yearly schedules are considered as historic entry.  TVRG continues to deliver upfront ratings data and special interest pieces, and I hope for those of you who have joined me on my vintage ratings scavenger hunt this summer enjoyed the reports.  Just because Summer has little in current ratings to report doesn't mean our readers have to go without ratings reports.  Join me as I continue my efforts to bring a great dose of history to our site.

-- Bridger Cunningham, Sitcom and History Buff