1961–62 United States network television schedule

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The 1961–62 United States network television schedule was for the period that began in September 1961 and ran through April 1962.

The previous season had been excoriated by Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow in May 1961. Minow had criticized poor programs and weak network schedules, calling television a "vast wasteland" and calling on television executives to try harder to develop innovative and interesting television programs.[1]

Television historians Castleman and Podrazik (1982) believe the 1961–62 season marked a comeback for television, as the networks rearranged their schedules to accommodate the critics. They point out CBS's high-quality legal drama The Defenders, NBC's medical drama Dr. Kildare, CBS's The Dick Van Dyke Show, and ABC's medical drama Ben Casey as bright spots in the new TV schedule. Despite the praise for these four series, the authors also highlight several less worthy series which debuted during the 1961–62 season: Room for One More, Window on Main Street, Hazel ("possibly the dumbest family in TV history"), and the truly terrible The Hathaways ("possibly the worst series ever to air on network TV").[1]

NBC lured Disney's popular anthology series from ABC; Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color premiered on September 24, 1961. The color programs were a change from the previous ABC programs, which had been seen in black and white.[1]

NBC also added a movie night to its schedule; the network paid $25 million for the rights to broadcast 50 20th-Century Fox films on Saturday nights. In April 1962, ABC followed suit when it added its own Sunday night movie to its schedule.[1]

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 6:30 Maverick (partial repeats) Follow the Sun Lawman Bus Stop Adventures in Paradise
CBS Lassie (15/24.0) Dennis the Menace (17/23.8) The Ed Sullivan Show (19/23.5) General Electric Theater The Jack Benny Program Candid Camera (10/25.5) What's My Line?
NBC The Bullwinkle Show Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color* (23/22.7) Car 54, Where Are You? (20/23.2) Bonanza (2/30.0) The Du Pont Show of the Week

Note: Mister Ed, previously syndicated, aired on CBS, 6:30-7 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 Expedition! Cheyenne The Rifleman (27/22.3) Surfside 6 Ben Casey (18/23.7)
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News To Tell the Truth Pete and Gladys Window on Main Street The Danny Thomas Show (8/26.1) The Andy Griffith Show (7/27.0) Hennesey I've Got a Secret
Summer The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 The Huntley-Brinkley Report* Local National Velvet The Price Is Right (27/22.3) 87th Precinct Thriller

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 Local The Bugs Bunny Show Bachelor Father Calvin and the Colonel The New Breed Alcoa Premiere
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Marshal Dillon (Gunsmoke repeats) The Dick Van Dyke Show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (21/22.9) The Red Skelton Show (6/27.1) Ichabod and Me The Garry Moore Show (12/24.6)
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 The Huntley-Brinkley Report Laramie Alfred Hitchcock Presents The Dick Powell Show Cain's Hundred

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 Local The Steve Allen Show Top Cat Hawaiian Eye Naked City
Winter Howard K. Smith: News and Comment Straightaway
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News The Alvin Show Father Knows Best (repeats) Checkmate Mrs. G. Goes to College Armstrong Circle Theatre / The United States Steel Hour
Winter The Dick Van Dyke Show
NBC 7:00 Local / 7:15 The Huntley-Brinkley Report Wagon Train (1/32.1) The Joey Bishop Show (24/22.6) The Perry Como Show (25/22.5) The Bob Newhart Show David Brinkley’s Journal

Note: Mrs. G. Goes to College moved to Thursday nights in January as The Gertrude Berg Show, allowing The Dick Van Dyke Show to take its time spot.

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 Fall Local The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet The Donna Reed Show (30/21.9) The Real McCoys (14/24.2) My Three Sons (11/24.7) Margie The Untouchables
Spring The Law and Mr. Jones
CBS Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Frontier Circus The Bob Cummings Show / The New Bob Cummings Show The Investigators CBS Reports
Winter The New Bob Cummings Show Frontier Circus Tell It to Groucho The Gertrude Berg Show
Spring Oh, Those Bells
Summer Accent on an American Summer
Follow-up Frontier Circus Various
NBC Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 The Huntley-Brinkley Report Outlaws Dr. Kildare (9/25.6) Hazel (4/27.7) Sing Along with Mitch (15/24.0)
Summer The Lively Ones

Notes: The Bob Cummings Show was retitled The New Bob Cummings Show on December 28. The Law and Mr. Jones moved to the 9:30-10:00 p.m. time slot on ABC on April 19.

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 Fall Local Straightaway The Hathaways The Flintstones (21/22.9) 77 Sunset Strip (30/21.9) Target: The Corruptors!
Spring Margie
CBS 7:00 Local / 7:15 Douglas Edwards with the News Rawhide (13/24.5) Route 66 Father of the Bride The Twilight Zone Eyewitness*
NBC Fall 7:00 Local / 7:15 The Huntley-Brinkley Report International Showtime The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor The Bell Telephone Hour / The Dinah Shore Show Here and Now
Winter Chet Huntley Reporting

* formerly Eyewitness To History

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 Matty's Funday Funnies The Roaring 20s Leave It to Beaver The Lawrence Welk Show 10:00 The Fight of the Week / 10:45 Make That Spare
CBS Local Perry Mason (5/27.3) The Defenders (26/22.4) Have Gun – Will Travel (29/22.2) Gunsmoke (3/28.3)
NBC Local Tales of Wells Fargo The Tall Man NBC Saturday Night at the Movies

Room for One More aired on ABC from January 27 to July 28, 1962, 8-8:30 p.m.

Beginning January 6, Matty's Funday Funnies became Matty's Funnies With Beany & Cecil.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 147–153. ISBN 0-07-010269-4. 
  2. ^ 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.
  • Castleman, H. & Podrazik, W. (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. 314 pp.
  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  • Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1984). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.