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1974-75 Sitcom Scorecard -- A Lean Season With High Casualties and Poor Happy Days Ratings

Written Grateful Not to See Lean Sitcom Season Like This by Bridger Cunningham

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The 70's were harsh economically, both on American wallets and their sitcoms.  Current TV Ratings Guide records indicate 1974-75 is the leanest season for sitcoms to date, with a paltry 23 helping.  Of which, 10 did not receive a return engagement for the following season.  NBC delivered the lightest helping of 4 sitcoms, CBS delivered 10, and ABC 9.  CBS renewed 8 of their options, while ABC only renewed 3 and NBC 2.  Ouch.

TVRG is proud to be the first website to publish the complete 1974-75 ratings, as only the common Top 30 shows have been the only source available online to see ratings performances.  Thanks to newspapers.com, the complete ratings featuring shows' Nielsens and ranks were recovered, and will be available in upcoming weeks.  Enjoy the Sitcom Scorecard as an early peek of what is to come, as the complete Ratings History will be published soon.


The 2000's have been regarded as one of the harshest eras to be a sitcom airing on broadcast television.  But the 70's gave them a run for their dastardly treatment of the common laugh box.  Relevance sitcoms flourished on CBS, with 8 top-20 sitcoms earning renewals.  NBC proudly flaunted Sanford and Son, as well as Chico and the Man (featuring Freddie Prinze, Sr, father of Freddie Prinze, Jr, who would have his own sitcom Freddie in 2003).  NBC did away with the failed Sunshine and Bob Crane, far less than the bloodletting ABC experienced.

That;s My Mama, a show so forgettable it would not survive outside the 1975 calendar year the next season, led ABC's brood of 9 sitcoms.  Their other two renewals were handed to an ailing Happy Days and mid-season replacement Barney Miller, which was the lowest-rated television show to be handed a renewal in 68th Place.  ABC wisely retooled the shows, as Barney Miller received a timeslot upgrade and enjoyed a lengthy run through to 1982.  And Happy Days?  Producers wisely mixed-in Henry Winkler into the plots, creating the show fans fondly loved which endured through to 1984 on Tuesdays.  The Odd Couple made a dramatic drop in the ratings and ended after 5 seasons.  Beyond that, readers best count their blessings they do not have to take a drink every time they have to stretch their mind to remember these forgettable cancellations.

Sources -- The Times Records, June 2, 1975 -- https://www.newspapers.com/image/58849538/?terms=1974-75%2BSeason%2BNielsen%2BRatings%2Babc%2Bcbs%2Bnbc