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Monday, January 08, 2024

F TROOP in the Nielsen Ratings - PART TWO - 1966-67 SEASON




Yeah, I know, I promised further exploration of the 1965-66 numbers.  Trust me, that's coming--but I pushed it back a post because the full 1966-67 ratings are now available courtesy of Ratings Ryan!  For more on Ratings Ryan's site, check here, and if you'd like to subscribe and support his research, here's the link to do so.  

Okay, end of commercial.  My thoughts back in 2013 were formed with a handful of ratings obtained from newspapers and limited data (i.e. share only post-season) from TELEVISION magazine.  The opportunity to finally peruse the weekly ratings confirmed my suspicion that this was a tale of two halves when going week by week.  Let's dig in to the Nielsen Ratings for the second and final season for F TROOP:



Moved to 8 P.M. Eastern Time on Thursday night for year two, F TROOP replaced GIDGET one season before Sally Field would reclaim the time slot on ABC in 1967-68 with THE FLYING NUN. That series had already been earmarked for Thursdays at 8 the following Fall by February 1967 (reports indicated F TROOP would likely be moved to Wednesdays).  I'll have more to say about that (debatable) decision when we get to Part 3 of this series, possibly part 4 if I get long-winded (you longtime readers are expecting that, I'd wager).


F TROOP's first color episode and 35th overall, The Singing Mountie aired on 9/8/66 before the official start of Nielsen's 1966-67 period (September 12, 1966 - April 16. 1967) with a 13.9 rating and 25.3 share.  An inauspicious start in the new time period which came in third (NBC's TARZAN preview won the time period), something that would not happen to F TROOP in any ratings period in-season.  That slow start continued until October, when F TROOP began to build its audience on Thursdays.  

The week by week in-season results, with the five highest rated episodes of the season noted):

How to be F Troop Without Really Trying 9/15/66 17.7 rating/30.2 share

Bye, Bye, Balloon 9/22/66 17.9 rating/31.9 share

Reach for the Sky, Pardner 9/29/66 17.3 rating/29.3 share

The Great Troop Robbery 10/6/66 18.8 rating/33.2 share

The West Goes Ghost 10/13/66 18.6 rating/32.0 share

Yellow Bird 10/20/66 18.6 rating/32.0 share

The Ballot of Corporal Agarn 10/27/66 18.5 rating/30.5 share


Did Your Father Come From Ireland? 11/3/66 20.3 rating/32.0 share

For Whom the Bugle Tolls 11/10/66 19.2 rating/31.4 share

Miss Parmenter 11/17/66 18.2 rating/30.1 share

La Dolce Courage 11/24/66 12.5 rating/22.9 share


Wilton the Kid 12/1/66 19.6 rating/31.8 share

The Return of Wrongo Starr 12/8/66 17.5 rating/29.9 share

Survival of the Fittest 12/15/66 19.6 rating/32.8 share

Bring on the Dancing Girls 12/22/66 (No rating - Nielsen Black Week)


The Loco Brothers 12/29/66 19.0 rating/30.7 share

From Karate With Love 1/5/67 24.1 rating/38.5 share (1st)

The Sergeant and The Kid 1/12/67 20.8 rating/32.7 share (3rd-tie)



What Are You Doing After the Massacre? 1/19/67 20.5 rating/31.8 share

Horse of Another Color 1/26.67 19.4 rating/29.3 share

V is For Vampire 2/2/67 19.3 rating/28.8 share

That's Show Biz 2/9/67 20.0 rating/29.0 share



The Day They Shot Agarn 2/16/67 19.9 rating/29.4 share

Only One Russian is Coming! Only One Russian is Coming! 2/23/67 23.4 rating/35.7 share (2nd)

Guns, Guns, Who's Got the Guns? 3/2/67 19.4 rating/30.7 share

Marriage, Fort Courage Style 3/9/67 18.5 rating/29.9 share



Carpetbagging, Anyone? 3/16/67 20.8 rating/33.2 share (3rd-tie)

The Majority of Wilton 3/23/67 18.8 rating/31.9 share

Our Brave in F Troop 3/30/67 19.3 rating/32.0 share

Is This Fort Really Necessary? 4/6/67 20.7 rating/34.2 share (5th)

The Singing Mountie (rerun) 4/13/67 19.2 rating/30.1 share

The total for 30 rated weeks during 1966-67 is 577.4, coming to a 19.2 rating for the full season (splitting hairs, but it is 19.246, almost a 19.3).  The share total: 937.9 so the 31.3 share reported by TELEVISION is correct.  F TROOP scored the same 31.3 share in both of its seasons.  

(underrated guest star above: Patrice Wymore appeared once in each season, and both episodes were in the season's 5 highest rated)

As you'll recall my original thought was that F TROOP took an initial hit after the change of night and time, then steadily improved as the season wore on.  The first 15 airings totaled 273.3 (Sept-Dec 1966) for an 18.2 average (TELEVISION's March 1967 listing excluded the September episodes, covering October to December only, thus the 18.8 there) so in the second half of the season, F TROOP totaled 304.1 or a 20.3 rating in the season's final 15 weeks.  Share totals? 460.7 first half (30.7 share) and 477.2 second half (31.8 share).  Second half surge confirmed.  And since strong finishes were cited as the reasoning behind the renewals of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and THE MONKEES among others---anyone think that third-place ABC might have wanted a show back with a 20.3 rating/31.8 share over the second half? F TROOP improved its first half rating by 11 percent and its first half share by 4 percent.    


Now, about that ranking, as shown in the screenshot above from the August 1967 edition of TELEVISION:  THE INVADERS is listed 39th, but the second season entry aired 14 times after its 1/10/67 debut and totaled a 267.8 for those airings, or 19.13.  Yup, behind F TROOP's 19.24.  The Monday PEYTON PLACE averaged 19.7, TUESDAY MOVIE 19.75 in 29 airings, MR. TERRIFIC 19.8 in 13 airings (the highest rated cancellation), and F TROOP's lead-in, the Thursday BATMAN was at 19.5 (585.9 in 30 shows).  So those three are correctly ahead of F TROOP, but THE INVADERS is not, and moving up that one spot puts F TROOP in 39th place for the season out of 113 shows.  BATMAN should actually be 38th, with PEYTON PLACE 37th and MR. TERRIFIC in 35th.  The TELEVISION article is more accurate in this limited sample than I found the previous season--here's what I came up with:

35. MR. TERRIFIC 19.8

35. NBC TUESDAY MOVIE 19.8 (rounding up)

37. MONDAY PEYTON PLACE 19.7

38. THURSDAY BATMAN 19.5

39. F TROOP 19.2

40. THE INVADERS 19.1

41. I DREAM OF JEANNIE 19.0

42. THE MONKEES 18.8

42. LOST IN SPACE 18.8

42. HOLLYWOOD PALACE 18.8

As you'll note, I did double check again by running the shows listed immediately below F TROOP in the rankings also. THE MONKEES ended up at # 42.  Total rating of 546 for 29 airings, or 18.8 to go with the 31.2 share.  LOST IN SPACE had 507 for 27.  HOLLYWOOD PALACE at # 41 also averaged 18.8, though listed # 43 I DREAM OF JEANNIE totaled 532.5 for 28 airings, good for a 19.0 which would put it 41st, with MONKEES, SPACE and PALACE in a tie for 42nd.  Regardless, all remain below F TROOP so I feel confident that 39th place is correct.  This makes F TROOP ABC's eighth highest rated show (behind BEWITCHED, LAWRENCE WELK, RAT PATROL, THURSDAY MOVIE, THE F.B.I., Thursday BATMAN and Monday PEYTON PLACE) after being the network's seventh highest in 1965-66.  

Points of comparison:  CBS's 7th and 8th highest rated shows in those seasons: GREEN ACRES and GOMER PYLE.  NBC's 7th and 8th in the same: I DREAM OF JEANNIE and DANIEL BOONE.  Each one of those shows ended up running at least five seasons.


Looking at the shows F TROOP outranked in 1966-67, it's a pretty impressive list of 1967-68 renewals: WILD WILD WEST, LOST IN SPACE, THE BIG VALLEY, STAR TREK, I DREAM OF JEANNIE, THE MONKEES and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE are just a few of the notables shown above.  THAT GIRL, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA are further down after the top 55.  The oft-maligned GILLIGAN'S ISLAND (shown 49th above) has been frequently cited as an unjust cancellation in 1967--it too was bested by F TROOP.  For the curious, GILLIGAN totaled 525.3 for 29 segments, 18.1 rating; share was 870.3 total, averaging out to the same 30.0 shown above. 

Correcting the standings means that ABC renewed a whopping 11 shows for 1967-68 with lower ratings than F TROOP's.  I can't help but wonder why F TROOP was ranked behind shows that had a lower rating on TELEVISION's list in both 1965-66 and 1966-67.  Four of the five shows (combined) that were erroneously shown to be ahead of F TROOP in the two seasons were strangely ABC shows--there's a significant difference between being the 10th rated show on the network and the 7th.  I doubt if there was an agenda to downplay one show's performance--lazy calculation once past the top 30 seems more likely--but the numbers don't lie: F TROOP performed better than about two-thirds of its peers in each season it was on.



From Karate With Love posted F TROOP's highest share ever with a 38.5 on 1/5/67.  It was not only the entire night's highest rated program (yes, beating 22.9 for BEWITCHED) but was ABC's highest rated program of the entire week ending 1/8/67.  The 24.1 rating was the show's second highest ever behind Don't Look Now, One of Our Cannon Is Missing. Only One Russian Is Coming! Only One Russian is Coming posted F TROOP's third highest rating ever on 2/23/67.  So two of the show's three highest Nielsen numbers ever and all of the second season's five highest came in 1967 when the show was supposedly fading. Pre-emptions on CBS no doubt helped these top two episodes, but that could be a double edged sword.  For example:




La Dolce Courage was the lowest rated F TROOP episode ever by a wide margin on 11/24/66, Thanksgiving Day.  The entire ABC lineup was hurt that night, likely by CBS' NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys (the first such game in what is now a 57 year tradition) and the Cleveland Browns (no rating shown, but certain to be stronger than cancelled JERICHO in light of ABC's weakness that night and the SMOKEY THE BEAR special on NBC posting similar numbers to DANIEL BOONE). 

For tbe second consecutive season, F TROOP got the silver medal in its time slot as DANIEL BOONE's 20.5 average rating won the time period (although I've seen 20.8 listed as the season average, I came up with 552.8 in 27 showings or 20.47--rounded up to 20.5, which would be 27th instead of 25th in the rankings).  However, the contest was more competitive than you've been led to believe over the years.  F TROOP scored 11 weekly wins on the season, with a higher rating than BOONE nine times and also winning the time period two of the three times DANIEL was pre-empted.  F TROOP finished ahead of its BATMAN lead-in each of the final five weeks of the season and also bested BOONE  in all but one of those weeks--the only loss coming on 4/13/67 with a rerun of The Singing Mountie (19.2) beaten by an original BOONE episode (21.0).  The final three times DANIEL BOONE and F TROOP both aired a new episode, F TROOP won.  Finally, putting it all together, each of F TROOP's last four new episodes posted the highest rating for the entire 7:30-8:30 P.M. hour on Thursdays (3/16 - 4/6/67). 



Sure doesn't fit the narrative that F TROOP was cancelled in season two after failing to hold the BATMAN lead-in and performing poorly against DANIEL BOONE.  On the contrary, you could make a case that F TROOP was beginning to take over its time slot by season's end.  If ABC didn't want that back, they deserved the decade-long ass kicking they got from CBS and NBC in the Sixties.  No, Ben Kalmenson had it in for the Troop (and for WB involvement in television period) and had production stopped.  If the show had been in the top 10 Kalmenson would have still wanted it gone--ratings didn't matter.  


So to recap the first two parts of my analysis of the Nielsen Ratings for F TROOP, here's the overall findings:

1965-66: 20.4 rating, 31.3 share, 36th out of 108 shows

1966-67: 19.2 rating, 31.3 share, 39th out of 113 shows

So much for that supposed Sophomore slump.  With numbers comes clarity, and I'll save the rest for PART 3, when I plan to debunk some long-held misconceptions about F TROOP's performance in context and in comparison to its peers.  Stay tuned!

2 comments:

Walter S. said...

Hal, I'm really enjoying your setting the record straight of the Neilsen ratings on F TROOP. This is good information. As we know, not all TV shows are canceled because of low ratings. There are other factors involved. A lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvers that the viewing public doesn't know about.

John said...

Lovin' it.