Thursday October 15, 2015

TV: What the Hell Happened Between 1974 and 1977?

All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man

TV in 1974: Showing us to us.

While doing a little research on another project, I came across some Nielsen figures that were a little surprising to me. 

Here are the top 5 TV shows for the 1974-75 season:

  1. All in the Family
  2. Sanford and Son
  3. Chico and the Man
  4. The Jeffersons
  5. M*A*S*H

I knew “All in the Family” was popular but I had no idea about “Sanford and Son,” “Chico and the Man,” and “The Jeffersons.” Two of the five shows have black casts; three of the five focus on the working class. There's a sense that TV is trying to show us to us.

Now here are the top 5 shows three years later: 1977-78:

  1. Laverne & Shirley
  2. Happy Days
  3. Three’s Company
  4. 60 Minutes
  5. Charlie's Angels

The working class is either slapsticky and nostalgic (“Laverne and Shirley”) or sunny and jiggly (“Three's Company”). There's less dysfunction, more fantasy. It's also much younger and much, much whiter.

And three years after that? It gets a little yee-ha:

  1. Dallas
  2. The Dukes of Hazard
  3. 60 Minutes
  4. M*A*S*H
  5. The Love Boat

That was the turn—where we went wrong. It happened right in there. Why?

Charlie's Angels, Happy Days, Three's Company

TV in 1977: Younger, more jiggly, and very, very white. 

Posted at 12:05 PM on Thursday October 15, 2015 in category TV  
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