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1983-84 Ratings History -- The Networks Are Awash in a Bubble Bath of Soaps

Written Astounded At Soap and Movie Prominence by Bridger Cunningham

 Soaps, long derided and mocked for trite plotting and campy dialogue, somehow slicked the nation up with high-rated suds.  Dallas long reigned as the soap king following the corporate intrigue of the Texas Oil Fields, while its ABC knockoff Dynasty initially scripted the oil front in Colorado and evolved into selling slapfights and glamour.  They paired up with San Francisco leisure fare Hotel, creating a winning Wednesday block.  The follies of neighborly affairs drove CBS' Knots Landing into 11th place, and the wine industry delivered intoxicating ratings on Falcon Crest.  The only bubble burst on the soap front was NBC's Yellow Rose, which failed to capitalize on love and Lust in Texas, landing in 90th Place

CBS again reigned in 1st Place for a 4th straight year as ABC continued their freefall.  NBC experienced a disastrous Autumn, followed by a resurgent Spring lineup.  Cancellations culled most of the lineup below 60th place, taking out all but 4 shows and 2 movie nights.


Trending Hot -- Soaps, soaps, soaps!  Action Adventure shows swept the lineup, and Movie Nights delivered high ratings.  Critical darlings lest deliver high Nielsen performance to survive, as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere found prolific Emmy performances to guarantee a return ticket.  NBC Thursdays gained traction as Cheers, Family Ties and newly implemented Night Court crafted a dominant evening, which effectively managed to bolster anemic Hill Street Blues to 32nd place.  An upgrade indeed, as the show delivered as poorly as 87th Place in previous seasons.

Trending Tepid -- ABC and NBC's deliveries were mixed at best.  NBC was long depressed and experienced an upturn in the Spring, while ABC lost traction during the same time period.  Newsmagazines worked well for CBS with 60 Minutes, while ABC's 20/20 failed to twist the headlines like its competitor.

Trending Cold -- Sitcoms experienced a downturn of failures as longstanding fares like Happy Days Three's Company and One Day at a Time left the air.  Only CBS' Kate and Allie was handed a renewal as sitcom freshmans were stuffed into cancellation lockers.  Can one blame them, as viewers were handed stinkers such as Jennifer Slept here.

Source -- Take a special glance at where this article originated from, as this Akron Beacon Journal advertised the overall ranks for the referenced season.

Akron Beacon Journal, May 27, 1984. https://www.newspapers.com/image/153710465/