Flashback TV Ratings: 1987/1988 Season
Speaking of 1988, what were the hottest shows on primetime TV and how many viewers did they use to pull in? Can you guess which network won the season by an even wider margin then the year before? The top-20 shows of the 1987/1988 season, after the jump.
1. The Cosby Show, NBC 24.6 million homes.
2. A Different World, NBC 22.2 million
3. Cheers, NBC 21.0 million
4. Golden Girls, NBC 19.3 million
5. Growing Pains, ABC 19.0 million
6. Who's the Boss?, ABC 18.8 million
7. Night Court, NBC 18.6 million
8. 60 Minutes, CBS 18.2 million
9. Murder, She Wrote, CBS 17.9 million
10.The Wonder Years, ABC 16.8 million
11. ALF, NBC 16.6 million
12. L.A. Law, NBC 16.2 million
12. Moonlighting, ABC 16.2 million
14. N.F.L. Monday Night Football, ABC 16.1 million
15. Matlock, NBC 15.8 million
16. Amen, NBC 15.5 million
17. Family Ties, NBC 15.4 million
18. CBS Sunday Night Movie, CBS 15.0 million
19. Valerie's Family, NBC 15.1 million
19. In the Heat of the Night, NBC 15.1 million
As you can see NBC had as many as 12 shows in the top-20, its Thursday night Must-See TV line-up being of course the crown jewel.
The chart above includes only the regularly scheduled programming. Also, the results are stated in 'millions of homes' not 'millions of viewers'.
In 1988 there were 88.6 million homes with television in the US. That means 28% of the nation's TV homes watched the #1 program "The Cosby Show." An average US TV home has 2.5 people.
Such ratings are almost impossible in today's climate when the average number of channels a household receives jumped (from 25 in 1988) to 104 and new sources of entertainment such as the Internet lure the eyeballs away.
Today there are over 111 million homes with TV in the US and 82% of them have more than one television. "CSI," the #1 scripted program on network TV, has however averaged "only" 19.43 million viewers, so far this season.