This forum is for discussions of the radio and television programs done by Jack Benny


Postby epeterd » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:20 pm

I was just looking at the ratings listed in the front of 39 Forever Volume 2. You can really tell where the TV took over. The first big drop off is from the 1942-'43 season then from '43-'44. Not really sure what caused such a change then. The top Hooper rating dropped from 40.9 to 31.9. After that ratings were mostly steady until 1948-'49 and the succeeding seasons. '48-'49 was led by Lux Radio Theatre at 28.6. By Jack's last season of '54-'55, his show led with a measly 5.8 Neilsen. I wonder how Jack's TV show did in the ratings.

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Re: Ratings

Postby Jack Benny » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:52 am

Well enough to have a 15 year run, one of the longest running comedies in television history!
Your pal,
Buck Benny

My OTR Podcast - Each day, OTR shows from exactly 50, 60, and 70 years ago --> http://jack_benny.podomatic.com/
Jack Benny
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Re: Ratings

Postby epeterd » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:37 pm

You have a point there. Must've done pretty well.
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Re: Ratings

Postby speedy » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:26 am

Wikipedia has the Neilsen ratings listed for the 50s and 60s. They only list the top 20 shows. Here's a snapshot of Jack's TV show:
Season----------- Neilsen Rating
1951-1952 ------ 9
1952-1953 ------ 12
1953-1954------ 18
1954-1955------ 8
1955-1956------ 5
1956-1957------ 10
1957-1958------ Not in Top 20
1958-1959------ Not in Top 20
1959-1960------ Not in Top 20
1960-1961------ 10
1961-1962------ Not in Top 20
1962-1963------ 12
1963-1964------ 14
1964-1965------ Not in Top 20 (Final Season)
The funny thing about Jack's TV ratings is how they bounce up and down. Most shows start to lose viewers, and that process continues until they are cancelled. Jack dropped out of the top 20 for three straight years, and then popped back into the top 10. Not very typical. But as you can see, the ratings remained strong even through the next to the last year.
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Re: Ratings

Postby speedy » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:06 am

Sorry, just need to make one correction. The source for the ratings was not Wikipedia. Here is the link where I got them:

http://tviv.org/Nielsen_Ratings/Histori ... ason/1950s

To see the 1960s ratings, just change the 5 to a 6 in the link.
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Re: Ratings

Postby Mister Kitzel » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:09 pm

I recall reading in one of the books that Jack's TV show was up against Bonanza, and it was affecting his ratings. When he watched Bonanza he understood why.
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Re: Ratings

Postby altfactor » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:54 am

The reason for the spike in Jack's TV ratings in the 1960/61 season may be a very simple one: Jack was finally doing a weekly TV show (it's my understanding he finally did a weekly show at the request of his good friend, CBS Chairman Bill Paley) in the Fall of 1960, after doing an every-other-week show for most of the 1950's.

Viewers no longer had to remember "Is Jack Benny on this week and 'Private Secretary' on next week; or is 'Private Secretary' on tonight and Jack Benny on next Sunday??"

The continuity had to help.

BTW, the reason Jack's TV show's ratings dropped in it's final season were twofold: Jack's TV show moved to NBC and to a new day and time, where it faced the newly-premiered sitcom "Gomer Pyle" and the established war drama "Twelve O'Clock High".

I don't know if it's true, but I once read that NBC was nevertheless willing to renew Jack's weekly TV series for the 1965/66 season, but that Benny himself told the network that after 33 years of regular radio and TV shows, he wanted to cut back his TV schedule to a few specials each season.
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