1987: The Fox TV Network makes its prime-time debut.
Notable TV premieres of the year: Married With Children... (Fox), Full House (ABC), A Different World (NBC), and thirtysomething (ABC). Notable TV finales of the year: The A-Team (1983-87), Remington Steele (1982-87), Fame (1982-87), and Hill Street Blues (1981-87).
Top 20 Prime Time Broadcast Programs, September 1986- April 1987:
|RANK||PROGRAM||NETWORK||HH RATING||HH SHARE|
|1||Bill Cosby Show||NBC||34.9||53|
|4||Murder, She Wrote||CBS||25.4||37|
|10||Who's The Boss?||ABC||22.0||33|
|12||Nothing In Common||NBC||19.6||31|
|16||CBS Sunday Movie||CBS||18.6||29|
|16||NBC Monday Night Movies||NBC||18.6||28|
|19||Kate & Allie||CBS||18.3||27|
|19||NFL Monday Night Football||ABC||18.3||30|
NBC's Thursday Night "Must See TV" was at the peak of its Cosby Show/Cheers era power (as opposed to the later Friends/Seinfeld era). The Cosby Show's 53 share was the last time a regular series averaged over a 50 share for an entire season.
1986-87 might be the peak of the TV sitcom as well, with sitcoms being 13 of the top 20 shows (Bill Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, Golden Girls, Growing Pains, Moonlighting, Who's The Boss, Nothing in Common, Newhart, Amen, 227, Kate & Allie) the most we've cataloged yet in our posts of past years top shows..
Only once in its long run was NFL Monday Night Football lower than a tie for 19th, and that was in 1988-89 when it was #20 by itself.
NBC dominated with 10 of the top 20 shows, CBS 6, and ABC 4.
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. Don't forget that a HH ratings point today means a lot more households than it did in the past.
The Cosby Show title card courtesy of Wikipedia.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2005 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.