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Television's Number One Shows 1950-2009

Updated on December 13, 2009

The following TV shows were the most watched by family households. As time progresses from the advent of TV in 1950, one can see how America ethics and cultural obsessions made what shows the most popular with the viewing public at that time.

1950-51 Texaco Star Theater (variety show)

1951-52 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (early American idol show)

1952-55 I Love Lucy ( comedy that remains even today, timeless)

1955-56 The $64000 Question? (game show)

1957-61 Gunsmoke (a superb western that set standards for others to follow)

1961-62 Wagon Train ( another fine western about families migrating west in wagons)

1962-64 The Beverly Hillbillies ( a classic comedy about hillbillies moving to BH and settling in)

1964-67 Bonanza (one of the early westerns in color, which was rare on TV until 1966-7)

1967-68 Andy Griffith Show (sitcom)

1968-70 Martin and Rowen's laugh in- (a hip, cool, funny comedy-variety show that Goldie Hawn first got her start in-she was a crack up)

1970-71 Marcus Welby MD (medical sitcom)

1971-76 All In the Family (early sitcom at its best and very controversial in what Archie Bunker said- even today because of politcial correctness )

1976-77 Happy Days ( you know, sitcom with the Fonz and 50's throwback)

1977-78 Laverne & Shirley ( a spin off of Happy Days)

1979-80 60 Minutes (news show that is still on with many great topics)

1980-82 Dallas (the king of sitcoms with so many twists and turns, sex etc)

1984-85 Dynasty ( another king of sitcoms that ptiched women against women)

1985-88 The Cosby Show (family sitcom with great topics still on some stations)

1988-90 Roseanne (another sitcom that was more on the offensive side)

1990-91 Cheers (sitcom revolving around a bar tavern)

1993-94 Home Improvement (sitcom about funny repair skills)

1994-95 Seinfield (a recent classic that still reigns)

1995-97 ER (medical sitcom and drama)

1999-2000 Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

2000-01 Survivor

2001-02 Friends (sitcom)

2002-06 CSI (crime drama)

2005-09 American idol (talent search show) & Dancing with the Stars (dance competition)

The trend that is clear that in the 60's, the western genre was popular and after that decade it totally fell off the public interest and sitcoms\dramas became the king.



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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 8 years ago

      You know, i use to watch it all the time. But really, my favs for a kid in the 60s were: twilight zone, outer limits, leave it to beaver, lost in space, get smart, Man from UNCLE, mission impossible, star trek, donna reed show, my three sons, beatle cartoons, rocky and bullwinkle, I dream of jeanie, bewitched, shindig, hullabaloo. Some of these were already on the rerun circuit, yet, they still were great. My 10 yr old loves most of them today.

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 8 years ago

      I sure did love the shows from back then,..todays shows just don't compare I don't think. I will admitt one of my favorites was Mr.Ed the talking horse,..haha and of course Mash. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane !!!