1958–59 United States network television schedule

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The 1958–59 United States network television schedule was for the period that began in September 1958 and ran through March 1959.

According to television historians Castleman and Podrazik (1982), the networks' schedules were thrown "into complete chaos" by the quiz show scandals that erupted during fall 1958. At first only one series, Dotto, was implicated in the game-fixing charges. Ed Hilgemeier, a contestant on the program, filed a complaint with the show's sponsor, Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate withdrew its sponsorship of the Tuesday evening (on NBC) and daytime (on CBS) versions of Dotto, and the show did not appear on either network's fall 1958 schedule.[1]

The $64,000 Challenge (on CBS) similarly did not appear that fall, and by November, The $64,000 Question (CBS) and Twenty One (NBC) were also removed from the network schedules, amidst accusations of game rigging. According to Castleman and Podrazik, "NBC and CBS were adamant in their own statements of innocence" since they only aired, and did not produce, the rigged series. They also claimed the cancellations were due to low ratings, not because of game-fixing accusations. ABC had few game shows on its 1958–59 schedule, and "eagerly pointed out" its innocence in the quiz show mess. The network affirmed its commitment to Westerns, which could not be rigged.[1]

Western TV series continued to be very popular with audiences, and for the first time, the three highest-rated programs on television, CBS's Gunsmoke, NBC's Wagon Train, and CBS's Have Gun – Will Travel, were all Westerns. ABC's new series, The Rifleman even hit #4, quite a feat for a network which had had no series in the top 30 five years earlier.[2]

Although ABC, CBS, and NBC remained the largest television networks in the United States, they were not the only companies operating television networks during this era. In May 1958, Ely Landau, president of the NTA Film Network, announced an NTA Film Network schedule for the 1958–59 season. The schedule consisted of three and a half hours of programs on Friday nights: Man Without a Gun at 7:30, followed by This is Alice at 8:00, then How to Marry a Millionaire at 8:30, and Premiere Performance from 9:00 to 11:00. Although the NTA Film Network had over 100 affiliate stations, only 17 agreed to air the Friday night schedule "in pattern" (during the scheduled time).[3] Other NTA Network affiliates carried the network's programs whenever they had available slots, and outside of Gun, Alice, Millionaire and Performance, NTA's programs were aired whenever the local stations preferred. National Educational Television (NET), the predecessor to PBS founded in 1952, also allowed its affiliate stations to air programs out of pattern.

All times are Eastern and Pacific. 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.[2]

     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 Maverick (6/30.4) The Lawman (27/26.0) Colt .45 Encounter Local
CBS Fall Lassie The Jack Benny Program / Bachelor Father The Ed Sullivan Show General Electric Theater (25T/26.7) Alfred Hitchcock Presents (24/26.8) The $64,000 Question What's My Line?
Summer That's My Boy
NBC Fall Saber of London Northwest Passage (Color) The Steve Allen Show (Color) The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (Color) The Loretta Young Show Local
Winter The Music Shop
NTA Local

The Canadian-produced anthology series Encounter aired only five episodes on ABC before cancellation.

Richard Diamond, Private Detective, starring David Janssen, returned after a seven-month absence for a third season, the episodes of which aired on the CBS Sunday schedule from February 15 to June 21, 1959, at 10 p.m. Eastern in the former time slot for The $64,000 Question, which was suddenly cancelled in November 1958 at the height of the quiz show scandals.

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 Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 ABC News Polka-Go-Round Bold Journey The Voice of Firestone Anybody Can Play This is Music 10:30 John Daly and the News / 10:45 Local
Follow-up The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Name That Tune (25T/26.7) The Texan (15/28.2) Father Knows Best (13T/28.3) The Danny Thomas Show (5/32.8) The Ann Sothern Show (21T/27.0) Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse / The Westinghouse Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (once a month)
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 Huntley-Brinkley Report Tic-Tac-Dough (Color) The Restless Gun Tales of Wells Fargo (7/30.2) Peter Gunn (16T/28.0) Alcoa Theatre / Goodyear Television Playhouse The Arthur Murray Party (Color) Local
NTA Local

Note: The Westinghouse Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show was later rebroadcast and syndicated as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. In most areas, Douglas Edwards with the News and The Huntley-Brinkley Report aired at 6:45 p.m.

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 Local / 7:15 ABC News Cheyenne (18/27.9) / Sugarfoot (21T/27.0) / Bronco The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (10/29.1) The Rifleman (4/33.1) Naked City Confession 10:30 John Daly and the News / 10:45 Local
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Stars in Action (repeats) Keep Talking To Tell the Truth The Arthur Godfrey Show The Red Skelton Show (12/28.5) The Garry Moore Show
Follow-up The Invisible Man
Summer Peck's Bad Girl
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 Huntley-Brinkley Report Dragnet The George Gobel Show (Color) / The Eddie Fisher Show (Color) The George Burns Show The Bob Cummings Show The Californians Local
NTA Local

Confession, with host Jack Wyatt, premiered as a summer replacement on ABC on June 19, 1958, in advance of the 1958/59 television season. It ended on January 13, 1959, when it was succeeded by the paranormal anthology series Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond.

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 Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 ABC News Lawrence Welk's Plymouth Show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet The Donna Reed Show The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show The Wednesday Night Fights
Follow-up Accused
Summer Music For a Summer Night
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Twilight Theater (repeats) Pursuit The Millionaire (30/25.6) I've Got a Secret (9/29.8) Armstrong Circle Theatre/The United States Steel Hour
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 Huntley-Brinkley Report Wagon Train (2/36.1) The Price is Right (11/28.6)(Color) Milton Berle starring in the Kraft Music Hall (Color)* Bat Masterson This Is Your Life (29/25.8) Local
NTA Local

(*) Formerly known as The Milton Berle Show.

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 Local / 7:15 ABC News Leave It to Beaver Zorro The Real McCoys (8/30.1) The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom The Rough Riders Traffic Court 10:30 John Daly and the News / 10:45 Local
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News I Love Lucy (repeats) December Bride Yancy Derringer Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre (13T/28.3) Playhouse 90
Summer The Invisible Man
NBC Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Huntley-Brinkley Report Jefferson Drum The Ed Wynn Show Twenty One Behind Closed Doors The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford (20/27.2)(Color) You Bet Your Life Masquerade Party (Color)
Follow-up It Could Be You
NTA Local*
  • The 90-minute series Jazz Party aired from May 8 to December 25, 1958 on WNTA-TV Thursdays at 9pm ET

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 Local / 7:15 ABC News The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin Walt Disney Presents Man with a Camera 77 Sunset Strip 10:30 John Daly and the News / 10:45 Local
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Your Hit Parade Trackdown The Jackie Gleason Show The Phil Silvers Show Schlitz Playhouse/Lux Playhouse The Lineup Person to Person
Winter Rawhide (28/25.9)
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 Huntley-Brinkley Report Buckskin The Adventures of Ellery Queen (Color) M Squad The Thin Man 10:00 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports / 10:45 Fight Beat
NTA Local Man Without a Gun This is Alice How to Marry a Millionaire Premiere Performance

Note: On January 9, Phillies Jackpot Bowling premiered in the 10:45-11 p.m. spot on NBC, while on March 13 Tombstone Territory replaced Man with a Camera on the ABC schedule.

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 The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show Jubilee USA Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party Sammy Kaye's Music from Manhattan Local
CBS Fall Local Perry Mason (19/27.5) Wanted: Dead or Alive (16T/28.0) The Gale Storm Show Have Gun – Will Travel (3/34.3) Gunsmoke (1/39.6) Local
Summer Markham
NBC Local People are Funny The Perry Como Show (21/27.0)(Color) Steve Canyon Cimarron City Brains & Brawn
NTA Local

Note: On NBC, Brains & Brawn was replaced on January 3, 1959 by The D.A.'s Man. On CBS, Markham premiered Saturday, May 2, 1959 at 10:30 pm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 124–129. ISBN 0-07-010269-4. 
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ Kleiner, Dick (1958-05-03). "Thin Man Mystery Show May Add Baby to Cast". The Lima News. p. 19. 
  • 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.