Monday, October 23, 2023

Weekly Nielsen Ratings: 1972-73 TV Season

Below is a collection of scans of the Nielsen pocketpieces covering the the 1972-73 TV season. It features the complete primetime broadcast Nielsen ratings for all programs airing from September 4, 1972 through April 22, 1973. The week of Dec. 25-31, 1972 was a black week and not measured by Nielsen. I do not currently have any scans for the summer portion of the season. The grids report both the "Total Audience" and the "Average Audience" but Average Audience is the standard Nielsen metric that should be used.

This article previously only consisted of Newspaper scans to tell the story of this season's ratings, and those scans are still provided at the bottom of this article in case people want to see them. In some cases, the data in the Newspapers will slightly differ from the ratings in the pocketpiece  because the newspaper data is based off of Fast National data while the pocketpieces are from finalized data. The pocketpiece data should be considered more accurate and the raw scans of them are all available under the "Pocketpiece" tab.

Newspaper scans:
Below are the weekly Nielsen ratings results for the 1972-73 television season. Viewership wasn't reported by Nielsen until the fall 1988 season, so up until that point the only metric widely available was the household rating (which is what is reported here in this article). To calculate the estimated number of households watching, just multiply each rating by 648,000 as that is what 1 rating point represents. 

This season was an oddity in terms of ratings because it was the first season where full ratings were released for nearly every single week. Beginning with the week ending Oct. 8, 1972, The Los Angeles published both the full weekly rankings & ratings and they did this up until the week ending April 8, 1973. For the first week of the season (w/e Sept. 17, 1972) the full rankings are available from Broadcasting Magazine and the top 20 ratings are available from The Boston Globe. For the next 2 weeks of the season (Sept. 24 & Oct. 1, 1972), the full rankings and top 15 ratings are available from Broadcasting Magazine. The summer season is basically only reruns so it's not worth my time to try to dig up info for those 5 months.

Note: the week ending Dec. 31, 1972 was a Nielsen black week so there is no ratings information available that week. Additionally, The LA Times did not publish a list for the week ending March 25, 1973 so I had to use a number of other sources to compile as much of the rankings as I could. There is hardly any ratings data available for that week, but about half of the rankings are there.

ARCHIVED WEEKS (w/e Sept. 17, 1972 - Apr. 8, 1973)

Source: Nielsen Media Research via The Los Angeles Times, Broadcasting Magazine, The Boston Globe

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