Gunsmoke is the only western to ever be more popular than Bonanza. Considering the amount of westerns that once grazed America television; that’s quite an accomplishment. The Television series (the radio series ran from 1952-1961) ran from 1955-1975 and to this day remains the longest-running prime time drama in American history with 635 episodes. Law & Order ran for 20 years as well, but did not make the amount of episodes as the Western powerhouse.
The show was almost cancelled in 1967, but internal pressure combined with the outcry from fans kept Gunsmoke around. With a new time slot the show raised from a #34 rating in 1966-1967 to a #4 rating in 1967-1968. Even when the show was finally cancelled in 1975 it came as a surprise to fans and the cast alike. However, Gunsmoke continues to be known as one of the most successful shows of all time!
He forgot some very important shows like M*A*S*H, and all of the Lucille Ball series . Starting with I Love Lucy in 1951 through Here’s Lucy ending in 1974, some of Lucy was on TV. Archie Bunker’s Place is just a footnote. This Walter needs to do more homework. In 1951, fewer homes had television set than in 1980’s and beyond. The measure of success should be percents of viewers rather than number of viewers.
On the contrary, I did do my homework and used those measures in the analysis. MASH just missed the top 15 and Archie Bunker’s Place is far more than a footnote when calculating various different measures.
Longevity and Percentage of households viewed were weighed more heavily than number of overall viewers (If that wasn’t the case a number on the list wouldn’t have been present). There was hours of time put into compiling the list – but thanks for taking the time to comment.
While Seinfeld is considered one of the (if not) best Sitcoms of all time it really only spent 5 seasons as a ratings hit. Due to that it’s share ranks rather low – the first 4 seasons of the show didn’t crack the top 20 in ratings. But, that does not take away from the critical success the show was able to obtain. Unlike the vast majority of shows, the series ended while it was still a major ratings powerhouse. If it continued for 3, 4, or 5 more seasons in the top 3 of ratings it would have skyrocketed up the list and would have cracked the top 15.
*Whistles Theme Song*
Around the mid 20s – 30 range. Would have definitely been higher up the list if it continued past it’s final season where reached #1. Was a top 10 hit for all 8 of its seasons. Definitely a good show to mention, longevity is all what held it down really.
Law and order? Buffy?
Law & Order is in the 20s. Longevity played a huge role there, it only broke into the top 10 for 1 out of its 20 seasons. It remains one of my favorite series as it resulted in a number of spin-offs. While I personally love Buffy it was far from a ratings machine – at least at this level.
What about Gilligans Island?
The run for Gilligan’s Island was extremely short. It’s been far more popular. It was actually cancelled after Gunsmoke was moved into its timeslot.
I thought I love Lucy was shot in front of a live audience
From what I can find I Love Lucy used a laugh track, cannot find anything about being filmed in front of a live audience.