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1950-51 and 1951-52 Top 30 -- NBC Rules The First Years

Written Having No Clue About Most of These Shows by Bridger Cunningham


Welcome to the beginning of television as we knew it.  Television shows began airing in limited markets in 1946, picking up steam as NBC, Dumont and CBS offered regular outlets.  In 1948, ABC entered the arena in the back of the pack.  The following season entailed a proliferation of broadcast shows, and the networks needed to determine who was watching in addition to product sponsors.  Come March 1950, Nielsen began tracking households, and the ratings system as we knew it came to life.

The hard-data wall appears to be 1963, with only top-30 data available prior.  Being this data is over 50 years old, locating complete season data from the elusive Nielsen organization is a daunting task.  So for the time being, enjoy a peak at the seasons.

1950-51

Like Netflix' earlier seasons, not a single cancellation punctured this chart.  NBC ruled the charts, followed by a modest 2nd for CBS.  ABC managed 2 entries into the Top-30, and DuMont was lost in the shuffle as it did not have radio broadcast networks like the other three networks.  Play/production houses created anthology/variety series, with a few westerns and scant sitcoms and dramas puncturing the lineup.

1951-52

Lucille Ball entered the CBS arena with I Love Lucy, the very force which would propel the Tiffany Network in the lead in a few short years.  Sitcoms, Westerns and Gameshows began to trickle into the lineup and take space from anthology/playhouse spaces.  NBC still ruled, and ABC seemed to lose part of its footing.