Question: What were some of the more popular shows of 1976?
Televisionary: Well, since we're actually talking about two seasons in any given calendar year — for example, the tail end of 1975's fall season and the first half of 1976's — it's a whole host of programming. But because I like that time-capsule stuff, I'll give you a taste.
The top five shows for September 1975-April 1976, together with each one's network and rating (percentage of total TV households in the country at that time) were: All in the Family (CBS, 30.1); Rich Man, Poor Man (ABC, 28.0); Laverne & Shirley (ABC, 27.5); Maude (CBS, 25.0) and The Bionic Woman (ABC, 24.9).
The top five shows for September 1976-April 1977 were: Happy Days (ABC, 31.5); Laverne & Shirley (ABC, 30.9); ABC Monday Night Movie (ABC, 26.0); M*A*S*H (CBS, 25.9) and Charlie's Angels (ABC, 25.8).Keep in mind just how big a rating shows needed to pull back then in order to make it to the top of the heap. Those were the days of three big networks and a scattering of UHF channels. With a much larger network universe out there now, those numbers don't happen on a week-to-week basis. For that same 1976-77 season, for example, CBS's Alice came in 30th with a 20.0 rating. From October 2000 through June 2001, CBS's Survivor II claimed the top spot with a 17.4.