Originally Posted by Jedi Master
Besides Monday Night Football I don't see much quality.
Except no one here is arguing that popularity=good. Quality shows have always had to fight for an audience. The arts have always struggled to find an audience among what is exciting and popular in any era.
Here are some notable shows that nearly got cancelled after one season:
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Plus, a number of highly regarded shows got the ax before their time because not enough of the general audience watched.
To equate ratings with quality is a false comparison. Things like the OJ trial, the death of Michael Jackson and the Princess Diana funeral got massive ratings, but you wouldn't seriously call that quality television programming would you? All ratings have ever shown is people lack taste.
Originally Posted by Argee
First time in recorded history that The Beverly Hillbillies and quaility have been used in the same sentence!
I do hear some say the 50-60-70's were the golden age of TV but if you look back there was just as much bad crap on then as there is now. Its just one remembers the better shows and tends to forget the crap.
The same goes for music. We forget all the really terrible stuff from the past and all that comes through the filter is the good stuff. In 50 years, all we'll remember is the good shows airing now and we'll be saying "why can't we make good shows like that anymore?"
We like to remember the 60's as being some great era, yet we seem to forget the racial unrest, riots, the threat of global nuclear war, 4 prominent assassinations (John and Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr.) , a tragic fire on the launchpad of Apollo 1, the fact that the KKK was still a large presence plus there was the largest earthquake and hurricane to ever hit landfall. That doesn't even take into account the fashions were almost as bad as they were in the 70's with all the peach, avocado and tangerine colors accented with squares, circles and other geometric designs.
Sure, we didn't need to lock our doors, we had awesome cars and a lot of great music, but that always seems to overshadow just how volatile everything was. Further, the excesses of the 60's muscle cars led to the fuel crisis of the 70's.
Originally Posted by Jedi Master
There were no reality shows back then and TV was free. That makes it the golden age of TV. There were bad shows back then but the good outweighed the bad. Today its pay around $100 a month for bad TV that outweighs the good.
Sure there were reality shows. One of the biggest was Candid Camera. Technically, "On the Road" would qualify with it's profiles of quirky people found along the back roads of America. However, the difference is, there was a certain amount of respect for the subjects of the shows, compared to now where "On the Road" would only be successful if the host made fun of the people.
But, let's look at the top 10 shows from 1950 and the number of viewers. How many has anyone heard of? Further, look at how many of them were copycat variety shows:
1. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC) 6,283,200
2. Fireside Theatre (NBC) 5,365,200
3. Philco TV Playhouse (NBC) 4,620,600
4. Your Show of Shows (NBC) 4,345,200
5. The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC) 4,284,000
6. Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (NBC) 4,212,600
7. The Lone Ranger (ABC) 4,202,400
8. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS) 4,141,200
9. Hopalong Cassidy (NBC) 4,069,800
10. Mama (CBS) 4,049,400
11. Robert Montgomery Presents (NBC) 3,957,600
12. Martin Kane, Private Eye (NBC) 3,855,600
13. Man Against Crime (CBS) 3,814,800
14. Kraft Television Theatre (NBC) 3,774,000
15. The Toast of the Town (CBS) 3,723,000
16. The Aldrich Family (NBC) 3,682,200
17. You Bet Your Life (NBC) 3,672,000
18. Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (CBS) 3,661,800
19. Armstrong Circle Theatre (NBC) 3,631,200
20. Lights Out (NBC) 3,631,200
Let's go a decade later to 1960, where 5 of the top ten shows are westerns (all trying to capitalize on their popularity) and the top 20 still gets several slots filled in by variety shows. At this point, you also have the sitcom and the game/competition show starting to creep into the top 10:
1. Gunsmoke (CBS) 17,605,600
2. Wagon Train (NBC) 16,142,400
3. Have Gun Will Travel (CBS) 14,584,800
4. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS) 13,121,600
5. The Real McCoys (ABC) 13,074,400
6. Rawhide (CBS) 12,980,000
7. Candid Camera (CBS) 12,885,600
8. The Untouchables (ABC) 12,744,000
9. The Price is Right (NBC) 12,744,000
10. The Jack Benny Show (CBS) 12,366,400
11. Dennis the Menace (CBS) 12,319,200
12. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS) 12,224,800
13. My Three Sons (ABC) 12,177,600
14. 77 Sunset Strip (ABC) 12,177,600
15. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS) 11,800,000
16. Perry Mason (CBS) 11,752,800
17. Bonanza (NBC) 11,705,600
18. The Flintstones (ABC) 11,469,600
19. The Red Skelton Show (CBS) 11,328,000
20. General Electric Theatre (CBS) 11,044,800
In fact, 3 of the top 10 shows are westerns running on CBS, meaning they've been pumping out copycats of their own shows for decades...well before the likes of CSI: Albuquerque.
Of course, if we move on into the 70's, we get all kinds of copycat police dramas. In the 80's, we get the family friendly action show. The 90's gets us wall to wall quirky sitcoms. Plus, as we moved into the 70's, we started seeing movies of the week replace actual TV production as the weekends gave way to filler programming.
The fact is, people have always been drawn toward the reality/variety show and programs that copy other programs. We like to see regular people perform for us and we like the familiar.
The only thing that's changed is how much people care whether it's good or not. What that means is, the cheap and easy stuff filters to the top while the good stuff fights for the scraps at the bottom.
BTW: regarding the Beverly Hillbillies, it was only number 1 for the first two seasons. After that, it only got above #10 twice and hit the number ten slot once.Edited by NetworkTV - 12/18/12 at 11:36am