We Look Back At The Top TV Shows of 1962

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

Written By

May 3rd, 2008

200px-wagon_train_nbc.jpg1962: Walter Cronkite becomes the anchor of The CBS Evening News. Johnny Carson takes over as the host of The Tonight Show. The Rose Bowl is the first coast to coast color television broadcast of a college football game. Notable TV premieres of the year: The Jetsons (ABC), The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS), and The Lucy Show (CBS). Notable TV finales of the year: Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

And these were the top 20 shows of 1961-62.

Top 20 Prime Time Broadcast Programs, October 1961-April 1962:

RANK

PROGRAM

NETWORK

 

HH RATING

HH SHARE

1

Wagon Train

NBC

 

32.1

53

2

Bonanza

NBC

 

30.0

46

3

Gunsmoke

CBS

 

28.3

47

4

Hazel

NBC

 

27.7

45

5

Perry Mason

CBS

 

27.3

45

6

The Red Skelton Show

CBS

 

27.1

42

7

The Andy Griffith Show

CBS

 

27.0

42

8

The Danny Thomas Show

CBS

 

26.1

40

9

Dr. Kildare

NBC

 

25.6

40

10

Candid Camera

CBS

 

25.5

45

11

My Three Sons

ABC

 

24.7

38

12

The Garry Moore Show

CBS

 

24.6

48

13

Rawhide

CBS

 

24.5

42

14

The Real McCoys

ABC

 

24.2

38

15

Lassie

CBS

 

24.0

42

16

Sing Along With Mitch

NBC

 

24.0

46

17

Dennis The Menace

CBS

 

23.8

38

17

Gunsmoke

CBS

 

23.8

43

19

Ben Casey

ABC

 

23.7

44

20

The Ed Sullivan Show

CBS

 

23.5

36

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.

While I was around in '62, I was perfecting my walking skills, not watching much television. I Wikipedia-linked the top 5 shows above, plus others I didn't remember for everyone's reference.

1962 was the era of the TV western (5 of 20, Wagon Train, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, x2, and Rawhide) and the variety show (5 of 20, The Red Skelton Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Garry Moore Show, Sing Along With Mitch, The Ed Sullivan Show)

Five of the top 20 shows were sitcoms. (Hazel, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, The Real McCoys and Dennis The Menace)

There was just one crime drama (Perry Mason). 173 fewer than CBS has in its schedule this season.

The year included what was perhaps the first "reality" TV series (Candid Camera). Allen Funt, look what you've done to television!

Several of these TV shows began as radio shows, among them Candid Camera and Gunsmoke.

The network v. network competition was also uneven with ABC having only 3 shows in the top 20. NBC had 5 and CBS had 12.

Don't forget that a HH ratings point today means a lot more households than it did in the past.

Wagon Train cast photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2005 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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