Nielsen Media Research top-rated United States network television show

Posted May 4, 2011
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  1. Gunsmoke
    #1

    Gunsmoke (1955)

    64,276 views

    Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio and James Arness on television. When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law, later reverting to Gunsmoke.


  2. Friends
    #2

    Friends (1994)

    39,490 views

    Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which originally aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolves around six friends living in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane.


  3. Bonanza
    #3

    Bonanza (1959)

    38,587 views

    Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from 1959 to 1973 Lasting 14 seasons and 431 episodes, it ranks as the second-longest-running western series (behind Gunsmoke), and within the top 10 longest-running, live-action American series. The show continues to air in syndication.


  4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    #4

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)

    32,508 views

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also referred to as CSI) is an American police procedural drama television series that premiered on CBS October 6, 2000. The series, starring William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Laurence Fishburne, Ted Danson, and Elisabeth Shue, is the first in the CSI franchise. The series concluded on September 27, 2015, after 15 seasons, with a two-hour TV movie entitled Immortality.


  5. NCIS
    #5

    NCIS (2003)

    30,849 views

    NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


  6. I Love Lucy
    #6

    I Love Lucy (1951)

    26,712 views

    I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on CBS. After the series ended in 1957, however, a modified version continued for three more seasons with 13 one-hour specials, running from 1957 to 1960, known first as The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show and later in reruns as The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour.


  7. ER
    #7

    ER (1994)

    27,817 views

    ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist and medical doctor Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and Amblin Television, in association with Warner Bros. Television. ER follows the inner life of the emergency room (ER) of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and various critical issues faced by the room's physicians and staff. The show ran for 15 seasons with a total of 331 episodes, becoming the longest-running primetime medical drama in American television history. It won 23 Primetime Emmy Awards, including the 1996 Outstanding Drama Series award, and received 124 Emmy nominations, which makes it the most nominated drama program in history. ER won 116 awards in total, including the Peabody Award, while the cast earned four Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series.


  8. The Andy Griffith Show
    #8

    The Andy Griffith Show (1960)

    22,278 views

    The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom first televised on CBS between October 3, 1960 and April 1, 1968. The show, a semi-spin-off from an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, stars Andy Griffith, who portrays the widowed sheriff of the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina. His life is complicated by an inept, but well-meaning deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), a spinster aunt and housekeeper, Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), and a precocious young son, Opie (Ron Howard). Local ne'er-do-wells, bumbling pals, and temperamental girlfriends further complicate his life. Regarding the time-period of the show, Griffith said in a Today Show interview: "Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the 1960s, it had a feeling of the 1930s. It was, when we were doing it, of a time gone by."


  9. Happy Days
    #9

    Happy Days (1974)

    20,238 views

    Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. The show was originally based on a segment from ABC's Love, American Style titled Love and the Television Set, (later retitled Love and the Happy Days for syndication) featuring Ron Howard and three future cast members.


  10. Dallas
    #10

    Dallas (1978)

    19,603 views

    Dallas is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on CBS from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the Ewings, who own the independent oil company Ewing Oil and the cattle-ranching land of Southfork. The series originally focused on the marriage of Bobby Ewing and Pamela Barnes, whose families were sworn enemies with each other. As the series progressed, oil tycoon J.R. Ewing grew to be the show's main character, whose schemes and dirty business became the show's trademark. When the show ended in May 1991, J.R. was the only character to have appeared in every episode.


  11. Wagon Train
    #11

    Wagon Train (1957)

    17,389 views

    Wagon Train is an American Western series that ran on NBC 1957–62 and then on ABC 1962–65, although the network also aired daytime repeats, as Major Adams, Trailmaster and Trailmaster (post-1961 episodes without original series lead Ward Bond), from January 1963 to September 1965. The show debuted at #15 in the Nielsen ratings, rose to #2 in the next three seasons, and peaked at #1 in the 1961–62 television season. After moving to ABC in the autumn of 1962, the ratings began to decline, and Wagon Train did not again make the Top 20 listing.


  12. The Cosby Show
    #12

    The Cosby Show (1984)

    18,231 views

    The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on the Huxtable family, an upper middle-class African-American family living in Brooklyn, New York.


  13. Cheers
    #13

    Cheers (1982)

    16,957 views

    Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC and created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in a bar named Cheers (named after the popular toast) in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meets to drink, relax, and socialize. The show's main theme song, written and performed by Gary Portnoy, and co-written with Judy Hart Angelo, lent its famous refrain "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" as the show's tagline.


  14. Katrina Darrell
    #14

    Katrina Darrell

    17,146 views

    The eighth season of American Idol premiered on January 13, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2009. Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson continued to judge the show's contestants, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. The season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge on the Idol panel. It was also Abdul's final season as a judge. Kris Allen, a native of Conway, Arkansas, was announced the winner of the competition on May 20, 2009, defeating runner-up Adam Lambert after nearly 100 million votes. Kris Allen is the only married winner of the competition at the time of his victory. This was the second season where both of the final two contestants had been in the bottom three or two at least once before the finale, with the first being season three.


  15. American Idol
    #15

    American Idol (2002)

    16,310 views

    American Idol is an American singing competition series created by Simon Fuller and produced by 19 Entertainment, and is distributed by FremantleMedia North America. It began airing on Fox on June 11, 2002, as an addition to the Idols format based on the British series Pop Idol and has since become one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. The concept of the series is to find new solo recording artists, with the winner being determined by the viewers in America. Winners chosen by viewers through telephone, Internet, and SMS text voting were Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, and Nick Fradiani.


  16. The Beverly Hillbillies
    #16

    The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)

    14,936 views

    The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom originally broadcast on CBS for nine seasons from September 26, 1962, to March 23, 1971. The series stars Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr. as a poor backwoods family who move to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. The show was produced by Filmways and was created by writer Paul Henning. It was followed by two other Henning-inspired country-cousin series on CBS: Petticoat Junction, and its spin-off Green Acres, which reversed the rags-to-riches model of The Beverly Hillbillies.


  17. Seinfeld
    #17

    Seinfeld (1989)

    15,556 views

    Seinfeld is a sitcom that originally ran for nine seasons on NBC, from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, the show features a handful of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, particularly best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).


  18. Dynasty
    #18

    Dynasty (1981)

    11,911 views

    Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, revolved around the Carringtons, a wealthy family residing in Denver, Colorado. The series was ABC's competitor to CBS's prime time series Dallas, and starred John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins as oil magnate Blake Carrington and his new wife Krystle and Blake's former wife Alexis respectively.


  19. Survivor
    #19

    Survivor (2000)

    10,520 views

    and the last season


  20. Roseanne
    #20

    Roseanne (1988)

    9,696 views

    Roseanne is an American sitcom that was broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988, to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working-class family. The series reached #1 in the Nielsen ratings becoming the most watched television show in the United States from 1989 to 1990, and remained in the top four for six of its nine seasons, and in the top twenty for eight seasons, TV Guide rated "Roseanne" as one of the greatest shows of all time.


  21. All in the Family
    #21

    All in the Family (1971)

    11,428 views

    All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended. That sitcom lasted another four years, ending its run in 1983.


  22. 60 Minutes
    #22

    60 Minutes (1968)

    12,016 views

    60 Minutes is an American newsmagazine television program broadcast on the CBS television network. Debuting in 1968, the program was created by Don Hewitt, who chose to set it apart from other news programs by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation. In 2002, 60 Minutes was ranked #6 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked #24 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time. The New York Times has called it "one of the most esteemed news magazines on American television".


  23. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
    #23

    Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967)

    10,856 views

    Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (often simply referred to as Laugh-In) is an American sketch comedy television program that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973, on the NBC television network. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and featured, at various times, Chelsea Brown, Johnny Brown, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Richard Dawson, Moosie Drier, Henry Gibson, Teresa Graves, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Larry Hovis, Sarah Kennedy, Jeremy Lloyd, Dave Madden, Pigmeat Markham, Gary Owens, Pamela Rodgers, Barbara Sharma, Jud Strunk, Alan Sues, Lily Tomlin and Jo Anne Worley.


  24. Marcus Welby, M.D.
    #24

    Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969)

    7,067 views

    Marcus Welby, M.D. was an American medical drama television program that aired on ABC from September 23, 1969 to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner and James Brolin as the younger doctor he often worked with, and was produced by David Victor and David J. O'Connell. The pilot, A Matter of Humanities, had aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 26, 1969.


  25. Laverne & Shirley
    #25

    Laverne & Shirley (1976)

    4,294 views

    Laverne & Shirley is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976, to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, single roommates who worked as bottlecappers in a fictitious Milwaukee brewery called Shotz Brewery.


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