1956–57 United States network television schedule

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The 1956–57 United States network television schedule was for the period that began in September 1956 and ran through March 1957.

The 1956–57 network television schedule continued the trend of the previous season, with two of the three major U.S. television networks (ABC and CBS) scheduling more and more Westerns and adventure series during prime time. In addition to its current stable of Westerns, which included Cheyenne, The Lone Ranger, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, ABC scheduled two new Western TV series: Broken Arrow and The Adventures of Jim Bowie, while CBS added Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater to its line-up, which already included Gunsmoke and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Castleman and Podrazik (1984) called the rush to schedule Western series on network television during this era "a virtual stampede".[1]

CBS "inherited Sunday afternoon NFL contests from the defunct DuMont network in the fall of 1956". Accordingly, "the expansion into Sunday sports by CBS (and NBC) meant that the traditional afternoon 'egghead' slots for highbrow programming had to be broken up, pushing those shows into the few odd spots still open in the day, or eliminating them completely. This reflected the networks' shift in emphasis during the mid-1950s, slanting television much more toward broad-based popular entertainment. Increasingly, this meant television programming produced in Hollywood [...] In 1957, the amount of prime time programming originating on the West Coast jumped from 40% to 71%."[1]

NBC, behind CBS in the network Nielsen ratings, hired Robert Kintner to revamp NBC's schedule. According to Castleman and Podrazik (1982), NBC's plan was to launch a program which would compete directly with CBS's second most popular series, The Ed Sullivan Show, on Sunday, the most heavily-viewed TV night: "Sullivan's show was popular enough to boost the ratings of the programs on both before and after his; as a result, CBS had a chain of hits to begin the evening." NBC's strategy was designed to weaken CBS's Sunday night line-up. NBC's new program, The Steve Allen Show, debuted in the summer to get a head start on the competition.[2] Although the two programs enjoyed a fierce rivalry, Sullivan's program would remain wildly popular, finishing second among all TV programs in the ratings that year, while Allen's show missed the top 30.[3]

New fall series are highlighted in bold, while shows ending their runs are highlighted in italics.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[4]

     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 You Asked For It The Original Amateur Hour Press Conference Omnibus Local Programming
CBS Lassie (24/29.5) The Jack Benny Program (10/32.3) / Private Secretary (25/29.0) The Ed Sullivan Show (2/38.4) General Electric Theater (3/36.9) Alfred Hitchcock Presents (6/33.9) The $64,000 Challenge (22T/29.7) What's My Line? (26T/28.9)
NBC Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers Circus Boy The Steve Allen Show Goodyear Television Playhouse (Color) / The Alcoa Hour (Color) The Loretta Young Show National Bowling Championships

Note: On NBC, Hallmark Hall of Fame (Color) aired as a monthly series, 7:30–9 p.m.

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 Kukla, Fran and Ollie / 7:15 John Daly and the News Bold Journey The Danny Thomas Show (formerly known as Make Room For Daddy) The Voice of Firestone Life is Worth Living Lawrence Welk's Top Tunes and New Talent Local Programming
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News The Adventures of Robin Hood (20/30.3) The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (28/27.8) Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (12/31.9) I Love Lucy (1/43.7) December Bride (5/35.2) Studio One
NBC Local Programming 7:30 The Golden Touch of Frankie Carle / 7:45 Huntley-Brinkley Report The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Stanley Medic Robert Montgomery Presents (Color) Local Programming

On NBC, Producers' Showcase (Color) aired as a monthly series, from 8–9:30 p.m. On CBS, in some areas, Douglas Edwards with the News aired at 6:45 p.m.

From July 1 to September 23, 1957, the summer series Richard Diamond, Private Detective, starring David Janssen, aired on CBS at 8:30-9 p.m. It returned for a second irregular season on the CBS Thursday schedule from January 2 to June 26, 1958.

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 Kukla, Fran and Ollie / 7:15 John Daly and the News Cheyenne/Conflict The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (18/31.0) Broken Arrow Du Pont Theater It's Polka Time Local Programming
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Name That Tune (30/27.2) The Phil Silvers Show (22T/29.7) The Brothers The Herb Shriner Show The Red Skelton Show (15T/31.4)(Sporadically in Color) The $64,000 Question (4/36.4) Do You Trust Your Wife?
NBC Local Programming 7:30 The Jonathan Winters Show / 7:45 Huntley-Brinkley Report The Big Surprise Noah's Ark (Color) The Jane Wyman Show Armstrong Circle Theatre/The Kaiser Aluminum Hour Break the $250,000 Bank (Color)
  • On March 5, 1957, the suspense drama Panic replaced Noah's Ark, a Jack Webb production, on the NBC schedule.

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 Kukla, Fran and Ollie / 7:15 John Daly and the News Disneyland (13T/31.8) Navy Log The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Ford Theatre The Wednesday Night Fights
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Giant Step The Arthur Godfrey Show (Sporadically in Color, formerly as Arthur Godfrey and his Friends) The Millionaire (13T/31.8) I've Got a Secret (7T/32.7) The United States Steel Hour/The 20th Century-Fox Hour
NBC Local Programming 7:30 Coke Time with Eddie Fisher / 7:45 Huntley-Brinkley Report The Adventures of Hiram Holliday Father Knows Best Kraft Television Theatre (Color) This Is Your Life Twenty One

Note: On CBS, Pick the Winner aired as an interim U.S. election coverage series in September and October from 7:30–8 p.m.

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 Kukla, Fran and Ollie / 7:15 John Daly and the News The Lone Ranger Circus Time Wire Service Ozark Jubilee
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Sergeant Preston of the Yukon The Bob Cummings Show Climax! (26T/28.9) / Shower of Stars (once a month) Playhouse 90
NBC Local Programming 7:30 The Dinah Shore Show / 7:45 Huntley-Brinkley Report You Bet Your Life (17/31.1) Dragnet (11/32.1) The People’s Choice The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford (19/30.7) Lux Video Theatre (Color)

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 Kukla, Fran and Ollie / 7:15 John Daly and the News The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin The Adventures of Jim Bowie Crossroads Treasure Hunt The Vise The Ray Anthony Show
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News My Friend Flicka (through February 1) The West Point Story Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater Crusader /starting January 4 Mr. Adams and Eve Schlitz Playhouse (formerly Schlitz Playhouse Of Stars) The Lineup (15T/31.4) Person to Person
NBC Fall Local Programming 7:30 Coke Time with Eddie Fisher / 7:45 Huntley-Brinkley Report The Life of Riley (Sporadically in Color) The Walter Winchell Show The Joseph Cotten Show (formerly known as On Trial) The Big Story 10:00 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports / 10:45 Red Barber's Corner (Color) / 10-11:00 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (once a month)
Spring Blondie

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 Local Programming Famous Film Festival Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party Masquerade Party Local Programming
CBS Fall Beat the Clock The Buccaneers The Jackie Gleason Show (29/27.6) The Gale Storm Show Hey, Jeannie! Gunsmoke (7T/32.7) High Finance
Summer The Jimmy Dean Show
NBC Fall Local Programming People Are Funny (21/30.2) The Perry Como Show (9/32.6)(Color) Caesar's Hour The George Gobel Show Your Hit Parade
Summer The Julius LaRosa Show The George Sanders Mystery Theater Dollar a Second Encore Theatre Local Programming
Follow-up  ? Dollar a Second

Notes: On NBC, Saturday Color Carnival (Color) aired as a monthly series, 9:00–10:30 p.m. The 1957 version of the NBC summer series Encore Theatre consisted of reruns of episodes of Ford Theatre.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Castleman, H. and Podrazik, W. (1984) The TV Schedule Book: Four Decades of Network Programming from Sign-on to Sign-off. McGraw-Hill. pg 79-85. ISBN 0-07-010277-5
  2. ^ Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 109–115. ISBN 0-07-010269-4. 
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. p 1681. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.
  4. ^ 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.