1951–52 United States network television schedule

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The 1951–52 United States network television schedule began in September of 1951 and ended in the spring of 1952. This was the first television season of national network interconnection by coaxial cable and microwave, meaning programming could be transmitted live coast-to-coast (or in the case of filmed programs, distributed simultaneously across the country) if needed.

On Sunday nights, NBC experimented with airing its new comedy-variety program Chesterfield Sound-off Time (featuring Bob Hope, Fred Allen and Jerry Lester as rotating hosts) in an early evening timeslot, 7:00–7:30. Previously, network TV variety programs had only been aired during late evening hours. According to television historians Castleman and Podrazik (1982), the experiment was designed to "duplicate the early-evening radio success of Jack Benny".[1] (Benny himself would appear on rival network CBS's The Jack Benny Program immediately following Chesterfield Sound-off Time). Red Skelton also made his network television debut on NBC's Sunday night schedule this season, but long-term success eluded him until after he moved to CBS in the fall of 1953.

Although most TV programming was live, both CBS and NBC also experimented in filmed series; Castleman and Podrazik highlight early filmed hits I Love Lucy on CBS and Dragnet on NBC. Dragnet was "one of NBC's first major experiments in filmed TV series"; the series was added to NBC's regular network schedule in January 1952, after a "preview" on Chesterfield Sound-off Time in December 1951.[1] I Love Lucy was given what historians have called a "choice time slot": Monday night immediately following the number one program on television: Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. The series "proved the strength and acceptability of TV sitcoms, giving [CBS] a strong weapon against NBC's flashy comedy-variety hours".[1]

DuMont, too, avoided flashy comedy series when in February 1952, in desperation the network added Bishop Fulton Sheen's program, Life Is Worth Living, to its Tuesday night schedule. The religious series was pitted against NBC's hit program Texaco Star Theater, and became the surprise hit of the year, holding its own against Texaco host "Uncle Miltie", and attracting a sponsor, an Emmy, and 10 million viewers.[2] The ABC and CBS programs which aired in the same time slot, Charlie Wild, Private Detective, and The Frank Sinatra Show (respectively), attracted relatively few viewers.[2]

New fall series are highlighted in bold.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[3]

     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[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue Music in Velvet Admission Free Other Lands, Other People The Marshall Plan in Action Hour of Decision Youth on the March
CBS The Gene Autry Show This Is Show Business Toast of the Town The Fred Waring Show Celebrity Time What's My Line?
NBC Chesterfield Sound-off Time Young Mr. Bobbin The Colgate Comedy Hour (5/45.3) The Philco Television Playhouse (12/40.4) /Goodyear Television Playhouse (16/37.8) The Red Skelton Show (4/50.2) Leave It to the Girls
DTN Local Pentagon Rocky King, Inside Detective The Plainclothesman They Stand Accused
  • On CBS, The Jack Benny Program (9/42.8) aired as occasional specials once every six to eight weeks at 7:30-8:00 pm.

Monday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 After the Deadlines / 7:15 Local Hollywood Screen Test The Amazing Mr. Malone/Mr. District Attorney Life Begins at Eighty Curtain Up The Bill Gwinn Show Studs' Place
CBS Local 7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show Lux Video Theatre Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (1/53.8) I Love Lucy (3/50.9) It's News to Me Studio One
NBC Kukla, Fran and Ollie 7:30 The Mohawk Showroom / 7:45 Camel News Caravan The Speidel Show The Voice of Firestone Lights Out Robert Montgomery Presents (26/34.4) / Somerset Maugham TV Theater Who Said That?
DMN Captain Video and His Video Rangers Local Stage Entrance The Johns Hopkins Science Review Wrestling From Columbia Park

Tuesday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 After the Deadlines / 7:15 Local The Beulah Show Charlie Wild, Private Detective What Do You Think? United or Not On Trial Q.E.D. The Symphony
CBS Local 7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Stork Club The Frank Sinatra Show Crime Syndicated Suspense Danger Local
NBC Kukla, Fran and Ollie 7:30 The Little Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan Texaco Star Theater (2/52.0) Fireside Theater (7/43.1) Armstrong Circle Theater (24/34.7) The Original Amateur Hour
DMN Captain Video and His Video Rangers Local What's the Story Keep Posted Cosmopolitan Theatre Hands of Mystery Local

Wednesday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 After the Deadlines / 7:15 Local Chance of a Lifetime Paul Dixon Show Don McNeill's TV Club/The Arthur Murray Party The Clock Celanese Theater/Pulitzer Prize Playhouse*
CBS Local 7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (6/43.3) Strike It Rich (25/34.5) The Web 10:00 Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts (17/37.5) / 10:45 Sports Spot
NBC Kukla, Fran and Ollie 7:30 The Mohawk Showroom / 7:45 Camel News Caravan The Kate Smith Evening Hour Kraft Television Theater (23/34.8) Break the Bank The Freddy Martin Show
DMN Captain Video and His Video Rangers Local The Gallery of Mme. Liu-Tsong Shadow of the Cloak Local

(*) From December 1951 to June 1952, these shows were 30 minutes, 10pm to 10:30pm ET

Thursday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 After the Deadlines / 7:15 Local The Lone Ranger (18/36.8) Stop the Music Herb Shriner Time Gruen Guild Playhouse Paul Dixon Show 10:30 Masland At Home Party / 10:45 The Carmel Myers Show
CBS Local 7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Stork Club The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show/The Garry Moore Evening Show (Sept-Dec 1951)/Star of the Family (Jan-June 1952) Amos 'n' Andy (13/38.9) The Alan Young Show (22/35.8) Big Town (15/38.5) Racket Squad (29T/32.0) Crime Photographer
NBC Fall Kukla, Fran and Ollie 7:30 The Little Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan You Bet Your Life (10/42.1) Treasury Men in Action Ford Festival (The James Melton Show) Martin Kane, Private Eye Wayne King
Winter Dragnet (20T/36.3) Local
Spring Dragnet / Gangbusters (14/38.7) Local
DMN Captain Video and His Video Rangers Local Georgetown University Forum Broadway to Hollywood – Headline Clues The Adventures of Ellery Queen Crawford Mystery Theatre The Bigelow Theatre 10:30 Local / 10:45 Football This Week
  • Wayne King was seen only on NBC's Midwest Network.

Friday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC 7:00 After the Deadlines / 7:15 Local Life With Linkletter/Say It with Acting Mystery Theater The Stu Erwin Show (aka Trouble With Father) Crime with Father Tales of Tomorrow/Versatile Varieties* Hollywood Premiere Theatre/The Dell O'Dell Show Industries for America
CBS The Stork Club 7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show Mama (11/41.3) Man Against Crime (29T/32.0) Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Live Like a Millionaire Hollywood Opening Night
NBC Kukla, Fran and Ollie 7:30 The Mohawk Showroom / 7:45 Camel News Caravan Quiz Kids We, the People The Big Story The Aldrich Family 10:00 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (19/36.5) / 10:45 Greatest Fights of the Century
DMN Captain Video and His Video Rangers Local Twenty Questions You Asked For It Down You Go Front Page Detective Cavalcade of Stars

Saturday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC The Ruggles The Jerry Colonna Show Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club Lesson in Safety America's Health Harness Racing
CBS The Sammy Kaye Variety Show Beat the Clock The Ken Murray Show Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town The Show Goes On Songs for Sale
NBC The American Youth Forum One Man's Family All-Star Revue* (20T/36.3) Your Show of Shows (8/43.0) Your Hit Parade
DMN Local Wrestling From Marigold

*formerly Four Star Revue

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 63–72. ISBN 0-07-010269-4. 
  2. ^ a b Weinstein, D. (2004). The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television, p. 156–157. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 1-59213-499-8.
  3. ^ 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.
  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  • Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.