1953–54 United States network television schedule

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The following is the 1953–54 network television schedule for the four major English language commercial broadcast networks in the United States. The schedule covers primetime hours from September 1953 through March 1954. The schedule is followed by a list per network of returning series, new series, and series cancelled after the 1952–53 season.

Contents

Despite hit filmed programs such as I Love Lucy , both William S. Paley of CBS and David Sarnoff of NBC were said to be determined to keep most programming on their networks live. [1] Filmed programs were said to be inferior to the spontaneous nature of live television. Thus, NBC and CBS continued to schedule many live programs, including two new 1953 fall NBC series The Dave Garroway Show and Bonino . According to Brooks and Marsh (2007), Garroway's show "was faced with overwhelming competition from Mama and Ozzie & Harriet , which were running opposite on CBS and ABC, and it only lasted a single season". [2] Bonino did not even last the full season. CBS had more luck with new live programs Person to Person and My Favorite Husband (which would later make the switch to film).

ABC, perennially in third or fourth place among the four U.S. television networks, had been on the verge of bankruptcy, but the February 1953 merger of United Paramount Theaters with ABC had given ABC a $30 million cash infusion. ABC revamped its schedule for Fall 1953 with big-budget programs. New ABC programs included Make Room for Daddy , and an ABC version of NBC's popular Kraft Television Theatre ; the strategy was designed to "take on CBS and NBC with a strong schedule". [3]

In contrast to ABC's revamped schedule, DuMont's Fall 1953 prime time schedule looked weak, with programs that were "doomed from the start by third-rate scripts and cheap production." [4] The 1953–54 season would be the last year DuMont was able to schedule nearly 20 hours of programming in prime time. By the 1954–55 season, DuMont would be forced to cut back its schedule, [2] while the other three networks continued to expand.

During the 1953 season, both DuMont and ABC "made sporadic efforts to compete for the daytime audience, but faced so many problems just filling prime time that they found it much more efficient to focus primarily on weekend sports". [3] DuMont paid $1.3 million in 1953 for the rights to broadcast National Football League games in prime time; starting December 12, DuMont also broadcast a series of NBA basketball games, the first time pro basketball was seen regularly on network TV. Both DuMont and ABC "were especially aggressive in pursuit of sports broadcasts because they were desperately in need of special attractions to bring in viewers". [3]

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research. [5]

  Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
  Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
  Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.

Sunday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC You Asked For It 7:30 The Frank Leahy Show / 7:45 Notre Dame Football 9:00 The Walter Winchell Show / 9:15 The Orchid Award Jukebox Jury 10:30 Billy Graham's Hour of Decision / 10:45 Local
CBS Quiz Kids The Jack Benny Show (16/33.3) / Private Secretary (24/30.3) Toast of the Town (17/33.0) The Fred Waring Show / General Electric Theater (27/29.9) The Man Behind the Badge The Web What's My Line? (28/29.6)
NBC The Paul Winchell Show Mister Peepers The Colgate Comedy Hour (10/36.2)
(Tied with This Is Your Life )
/ The Bob Hope Show (once a month)
The Philco Television Playhouse (19/32.5) / Goodyear Television Playhouse (22/31.0) Letter to Loretta Man Against Crime
DMN FallLocal Washington Exclusive Local Rocky King, Inside Detective The Plainclothesman Dollar a Second Man Against Crime
Summer Better Living TV Theatre

Monday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 The Walter Winchell Show / 7:15 John Daly and the News Jamie Sky King Of Many Things Junior Press Conference The Big Picture This Is the Life Local
CBS Local7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (20/32.4) Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (3/43.6)
(Tied with You Bet Your Life )
I Love Lucy (1/58.8) The Red Buttons Show (12/35.3) Studio One
NBC Local7:30 The Arthur Murray Party / 7:45 Camel News Caravan Name That Tune The Voice of Firestone The Dennis Day Show Robert Montgomery Presents Who Said That?
DMN 7:00 Captain Video / 7:15 Marge and Jeff Local Twenty Questions The Big Issue Boxing From Eastern Parkway

Tuesday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 Local / 7:15 John Daly and the News Cavalcade of America Local Make Room for Daddy The United States Steel Hour / The Motorola Television Hour The Name's the Same
CBS FallLocal7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Jane Froman Show The Gene Autry Show The Red Skelton Show This Is Show Business Suspense Danger See It Now
Summer The Blue Angel
NBC Local7:30 The Dinah Shore Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan The Buick-Berle Show* (5/40.2) Fireside Theatre (9/36.4) Armstrong Circle Theater Judge for Yourself 10:30 On the Line with Considine / 10:45 It Happened in Sports
DMN 7:00 Captain Video / 7:15 Marge and Jeff Local Life Is Worth Living Pantomime Quiz Local

(*) Formerly Texaco Star Theater

Wednesday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 Local / 7:15 John Daly and the News Inspector Mark Saber – Homicide Squad 8:00 At Issue / 8:15 Through the Curtain Answers for Americans Take It from Me Dr. I.Q. Wrestling From Rainbo Arena
CBS Local7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (6/38.9) Strike It Rich I've Got a Secret 10:00 Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts (23/30.9) / 10:45 Sports Spot
NBC Local7:30 Coke Time with Eddie Fisher / 7:45 Camel News Caravan I Married Joan (25/30.2)
(Tied with Mama )
My Little Margie Kraft Television Theater (21/31.3) This Is Your Life (10/36.2)
(Tied with The Colgate Comedy Hour )
Local
DMN Fall7:00 Captain Video / 7:15 Marge and Jeff Local The Johns Hopkins Science Review Joseph Schildkraut Presents Colonel Humphrey Flack On Your Way Stars on Parade The Music Show
Winter The Music Show
Spring Better Living TV Theatre
Summer

Thursday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 Local / 7:15 John Daly and the News The Lone Ranger Quick As a Flash Where's Raymond? Back That Fact Kraft Television Theater Local
CBS Local7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 Jane Froman’s U.S.A. Canteen Meet Mr. McNutley Four Star Playhouse Lux Video Theatre Big Town Philip Morris Playhouse / starting March 11: The Public Defender Place the Face
NBC Local7:30 The Dinah Shore Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan You Bet Your Life (3/43.6)
(Tied with Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts )
Treasury Men in Action (15/33.9) Dragnet (2/53.2) Ford Theatre (7/38.8) Martin Kane, Private Eye (29/29.5)
(Tied with The Big Story and Your Hit Parade )
Local
DMN 7:00 Captain Video / 7:15 Marge and Jeff Local Pro Football Highlights Broadway to Hollywood – Headline Clues What's the Story Local

Friday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 Local / 7:15 John Daly and the News The Stu Erwin Show (aka Trouble With Father) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse The Pride of the Family The Comeback Story Showcase Theater Local
CBS Local7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show Mama (25/30.2)
(Tied with I Married Joan )
Topper Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Our Miss Brooks (14/34.2) My Friend Irma Person to Person
NBC Local7:30 Coke Time with Eddie Fisher / 7:45 Camel News Caravan The Dave Garroway Show The Life of Riley (13/35.0) The Big Story (29/29.5)
(Tied with Martin Kane, Private Eye and Your Hit Parade )
Campbell Soundstage 10:00 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (18/32.7) / 10:45 Greatest Fights of the Century
DMN 7:00 Captain Video / 7:15 Marge and Jeff Local Front Page Detective Melody Street Life Begins at Eighty Nine Thirty Curtain Chance of a Lifetime Down You Go

Saturday

Network7:00 PM7:30 PM8:00 PM8:30 PM9:00 PM9:30 PM10:00 PM10:30 PM
ABC Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club Leave It to the Girls Talent Patrol Music at the Meadowbrook 9:00 The Saturday Night Fights / 9:45 Fight Talk Madison Square Garden Highlights Local
CBS Meet Millie Beat the Clock The Jackie Gleason Show (8/38.1) Two for the Money My Favorite Husband Medallion Theatre The Revlon Mirror Theater
NBC Watch Mr. Wizard Ethel and Albert Bonino The Original Amateur Hour Your Show of Shows/ The Martha Raye Show (once a month) Your Hit Parade (29/29.5)
(Tied with The Big Story and Martin Kane, Private Eye )
DMN Local National Football League Professional Football

By network

ABC

CBS

DuMont

NBC

Note: The * indicates that the program was introduced in midseason.

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References

References

  1. Boddy, William (1993). Fifties Television: The Industry And Its Critics. Urbana: The University of Illinois Press. ISBN   0-252-06299-X
  2. 1 2 Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. pp 517–518, 1576-1577. ISBN   0-345-31864-1.
  3. 1 2 3 Castleman, H. and Podrazik, W. (1984) The TV Schedule Book: Four Decades of Network Programming from Sign-on to Sign-off. McGraw-Hill. pg 45-46. ISBN   0-07-010277-5
  4. Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television . New York: McGraw-Hill. pp.  87. ISBN   0-07-010269-4.
  5. Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN   978-0-345-49773-4.