We Look Back At The Top TV Shows of 1960

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

Written By

June 7th, 2008

1960: John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon debate live in the first Presidential debates to be broadcast on television. It's also the first year that television is broadcast in New Zealand.

Notable TV premieres of the year: My Three Sons (ABC), The Flintstones (ABC), and The Andy Griffith Show (CBS). Notable TV finales of the year: Howdy Doody.

Top 20 Prime Time Broadcast Programs, October 1959 - April 1960:

RANK PROGRAM NETWORK HH RATING HH SHARE
1 Gunsmoke CBS 40.3 65
2 Wagon Train NBC 38.4 61
3 Have Gun Will Travel CBS 34.7 53
4 Danny Thomas CBS 31.1 45
5 Red Skelton CBS 30.8 48
6 Father Knows Best CBS 29.7 43
6 77 Sunset Strip ABC 29.7 47
8 The Price Is Right NBC 29.2 45
9 Wanted: Dead Or Alive CBS 28.7 44
10 Perry Mason CBS 28.3 45
11 The Real McCoys ABC 28.2 44
12 The Ed Sullivan Show CBS 28.0 42
13 Bing Crosby ABC 27.7 43
14 Rifleman ABC 27.5 41
15 The Ford Show NBC 27.4 43
16 The Lawman ABC 26.2 39
17 Dennis The Menace CBS 26.0 41
18 Cheyenne ABC 25.9 41
19 Rawhide CBS 25.8 43
20 Maverick ABC 25.2 39

1959-60 is the first year that we have data on the top 20 shows and it's solidly in the "West(ern) is best" era with the top 3 shows and a truly impressive 9 of the top 20 shows (Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Rifleman, The Lawman, Cheyenne, Rawhide, and Maverick).

77 Sunset Strip was the first hour-length private detective series in American television.

It was also a strong period for CBS which had 10 of the top 20 shows, ABC had 7, and NBC 3 (better than 2007-8!).

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.

Gunsmoke title card courtesy of Wikipedia.

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

 
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