We Look Back At The Top TV Shows of 1982

Categories: Top TV Show Ratings By Season,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

April 4th, 2008

twc_logo.gif1982, AT&T agrees to break itself up, the 49ers beat the Bengals in Super Bowl 16, the Weather Channel airs for the very first time on cable, the first compact discs (CDs) appear in Germany, Cal Ripken plays in the *first* game of his record breaking string, Knight Rider makes its first appearance in the film Knight of the Phoenix, the Toyota Camry was first introduced, I graduated from college and these were the top 20 prime time shows for the 1981-82 season.

For a bit of perspective, the top rated show this season, Tuesday's American Idol, Season To Date HH rating is 16.1 and its share is 24.

A few things jump right out at me. NBC didn't have a single show. 60 Minutes equals TV longevity. A regular prime time movie was #11, now primetime movies are consigned to throw-away time. There were twelve sitcoms out of twenty.

PRIME TIME TOP 20 PROGRAMS
         
      HOUSEHOLD
RANK PROGRAM NETWORK RATING

SHARE

1 Dallas CBS 28.4

45

2 Dallas\10:00 CBS 28.3

47

3 60 Minutes CBS 27.4

43

4 Three's Company ABC 23.7

35

4 CBS NFL Football Post 2 CBS 23.7

40

6 The Jefferson's CBS 23.4

35

7 Joannie Loves Chachi ABC 23.3

35

8 Dukes of Hazzard\9:00 CBS 22.8

37

9

Alice

CBS

22.7

34

9

Dukes of Hazzard

CBS

22.7

37

11

ABC Monday Night Movie

ABC

22.6

34

11

Too Close For Comfort

ABC

22.6

34

13

M*A*S*H

CBS

22.2

32

14

One Day At A Time

CBS

22.0

33

15

NFL Monday Night Football

ABC

21.8

36

16

Falcon Crest

CBS

21.4

37

17

Archie Bunker's Place

CBS

21.3

32

17

Love Boat

ABC

21.3

36

19

Hart To Hart

ABC

21.2

35

20

Trapper John, MD

CBS

21.1

35

         
Copyright 2005 Nielsen Media Research      

Original Weather Channel logo courtesy of Wikipedia.

 
  • righty

    wow, seems like there were only two networks back in 1982.

  • righty

    wow, seems like there were only two networks back in 1982.

  • jaems

    Dukes of Hazzard? Joanie Loves Chachi? Three's Company? Well, now it's official, satellite and cable killed network TV. It's certainly not the quality of the shows. That's almost a who's-who list of terrible TV shows and look at their ratings. Outside of 60 Minutes and MASH would one of those shows make it past the five episode mark in today's TV market. Even if you updated them, most of those shows would still stink. Sadly, I watched all of them, except Dallas and Falcon Crest, on a regular basis in my youth. Saturday nights at 9:00 were must-see-tv for Love Boat. “Love, exciting and new . . .”

  • jaems

    Dukes of Hazzard? Joanie Loves Chachi? Three’s Company? Well, now it’s official, satellite and cable killed network TV. It’s certainly not the quality of the shows. That’s almost a who’s-who list of terrible TV shows and look at their ratings. Outside of 60 Minutes and MASH would one of those shows make it past the five episode mark in today’s TV market. Even if you updated them, most of those shows would still stink. Sadly, I watched all of them, except Dallas and Falcon Crest, on a regular basis in my youth. Saturday nights at 9:00 were must-see-tv for Love Boat. “Love, exciting and new . . .”

  • Daniel C.

    I'm actually surprised at how well the networks have held up their numbers in the past 25 years. There were negligible cable networks, no FOX or CW or Univision.

    No internet and that short time between Atari and Nintendo where video games were on the decline and VCRs were still in the VHS vs. Beta format war and gaining a stronghold in households.

    Now with population of the US increasing from 232 million to todays 302 million, an increase of 30%, the number of outlets for our daily outlets has increased from maybe 12 stations at the high end in 1982 to a couple hundred today, maybe 200% more. With those percentages, American Idol could be said to do well with 10 rating relative to today's competition.

  • Daniel C.

    I’m actually surprised at how well the networks have held up their numbers in the past 25 years. There were negligible cable networks, no FOX or CW or Univision.

    No internet and that short time between Atari and Nintendo where video games were on the decline and VCRs were still in the VHS vs. Beta format war and gaining a stronghold in households.

    Now with population of the US increasing from 232 million to todays 302 million, an increase of 30%, the number of outlets for our daily outlets has increased from maybe 12 stations at the high end in 1982 to a couple hundred today, maybe 200% more. With those percentages, American Idol could be said to do well with 10 rating relative to today’s competition.

  • frankj

    This list didn't include Knight Rider right? It debuted in the fall of 1982 I think.

    I'm curious if it helped NBC get into the top 20 for the 82-83 season.

  • frankj

    This list didn’t include Knight Rider right? It debuted in the fall of 1982 I think.

    I’m curious if it helped NBC get into the top 20 for the 82-83 season.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Frank, for this sort of data we only have the top 20 shows. Knight Rider did debut the next season (82-83) but NEVER made the top 20 during its four seasons. I pity the fool who thinks Knight Rider was a top 20 show!

    NBC did make the list for the 82-83 season, not with KR, but with the A-Team.

    Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers and “Must See TV” would not kick off until the 1984-1985 season.

    I agree with Daniel, and think it's surprising just how much share the broadcast networks have held on to given the reasons he cites.

    It's hard to quantify, but I can't help wonder if American Idol for the 2006-2007 season (17.3/26) wasn't a more impressive performance than J.R. Ewing's in 1981-1982.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Frank, for this sort of data we only have the top 20 shows. Knight Rider did debut the next season (82-83) but NEVER made the top 20 during its four seasons. I pity the fool who thinks Knight Rider was a top 20 show!

    NBC did make the list for the 82-83 season, not with KR, but with the A-Team.

    Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers and “Must See TV” would not kick off until the 1984-1985 season.

    I agree with Daniel, and think it’s surprising just how much share the broadcast networks have held on to given the reasons he cites.

    It’s hard to quantify, but I can’t help wonder if American Idol for the 2006-2007 season (17.3/26) wasn’t a more impressive performance than J.R. Ewing’s in 1981-1982.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Am runnning out the door, but remember a HH rating in 1982 was far fewer households than it is today.

  • Bryan

    Wow look how wholesome all those shows are. What great times 1982 was. You did not have to lock your doors:)

  • Bryan

    Wow look how wholesome all those shows are. What great times 1982 was. You did not have to lock your doors:)

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