|By 1960 Television came a long way as most of
the really limited appeal shows of the 1950's were gone and
quality shows were being produced.
More than half of the population now owned a black &
white tube television, you were lucky if you could get
five stations on it. The TV had no remote control, there
was no cable TV at this time and you needed an outside antenna
or an inside antenna which most people called "Rabbit
Ears". In 1960 an RCA black & white 21 inch
console TV cost $268, most people financed this for about $10
CBS was the most popular network on TV as the 1960's
started with more than half of the Top 10 shows. NBC was
second and ABC was a distant third.
TV Westerns were the most popular type show in the early
60's. The top rated Westerns were Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,
Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide & Bonanza. It took
Bonanza a season or two before it became a top show but then
it was one of the most popular westerns ever.
There were a few shows that lasted the entire 1960's in
prime time. These shows included Lassie, Ed Sullivan
Show, Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color, The Red Skelton
Show, Bonanza, & The Lawrence Welk Show.
There were not many popular sitcoms when the 1960's
started. The series Father Knows Best ended production
in the late 1950's but continued to air in prime time until
1962, the show had better ratings as a rerun compared to its
The first TV show of the 1960's to become a TV classic was
the Andy Griffith Show. This show was a spinoff from the
Danny Thomas Show Make Room For Daddy. The Andy Griffith
Show was in the Top 10 every year during its original run from
1960 - 1968.
Some other top shows from 1960 included Real McCoys, Candid
Camera, 77 Sunset Strip, My Three Sons, Dennis The Menace
& Perry Mason.
In 1961 TV Westerns still toped the ratings but 2 new
medical dramas made quite an impact. Sr. Kildare
starring Richard Chamberlain and Ben Casey starring Vince
Edwards were big ratings winners.
Hazel was the most popular sitcoms and My Three Sons and
Car 54 Where Are You were also popular.
In 1962 sitcoms came on strong, The Beverly Hillbillies was
the top show of the year. 1962 saw the return of Lucille
Ball in The Lucy Show, this program became an all time classic
and still holds up very well today. The Dick Van Dyke
Show despite marginal ratings its first year came on strong in
1962 and The Danny Thomas Show remained strong as well.
In 1963 ABC took control of our televisions as The Outer
Limits debuted, this was one of the best Sci-Fi shows of the
1960's but it never did well in the ratings.
CBS hit the jackpot with two sitcoms in 1963, Petticoat
Junction & My Favorite Martian.
ABC made some waves with 2 sitcoms including McHale's Navy
& The Patty Duke Show. ABC also had a big hit in the
making with The Fugitive which debuted in 1963, this show
would be one of the most watched in the 1960's.
In 1964 Peyton Place aired twice a week on ABC and was the
first successful nighttime Soap Opera. The show was well
written and well acted, it lasted five years on ABC.
Bewitched was the big hit of 1964 starring the beautiful
CBS had strong showings from Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. starring
Jim Nabors, this was a spinoff from The Andy Griffith
Show. CBS also had popular shows such as Gilligan's
Island, The Munsters and the long running Red Skelton Show.
In 1965 Bonanza topped the ratings, NBC had another ratings
winner with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. along with the sitcoms Get
Smart & I Dream Of Jeannie.
The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat
Junction spinoff Green Acres all did well in 1965.
In 1966 the most popular new show was Batman, this aired
twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. This show
was hip and action packed and was popular with kids. The
show was actually well written and had great guest stars as
NBC countered with The Monkees, this real live Rock Group
of the late 60's had many hits during the run of their TV
In 1967 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour attracted the
most attention as this was the most controversial show on TV
at the time.
The Fugitive series wrapped up in 1967 and the final
episode was one of the most watched shows in the history of
television up to that point. Richard Kimble finally
caught up with the one arm man.
In 1968 CBS ended the runs of The Andy Griffith Show &
The Lucy Show, both series were still in the top 5 when they
ended production. Both were replaced with spinoff
series. Andy Griffith Show with Mayberry R.F.D. &
The Lucy Show with Here's Lucy.
NBC had the big new show of the year with Rowan &
Martin's Laugh In, old favorites on NBC also did well in 1968
including The Dean Martin Show, The Virginian and
Bonanza. NBC also had a controversial show called Julia,
the story of a Negro Nurse raising her son with no husband.
CBS hit the jackpot with its new Police Drama Hawaii Five O
starring Jack Lord. Family Affair also had high ratings
ABC countered Hawaii Five O with its own hip Police Show
In 1969 two Medical Dramas had big impact. Medical
Center starring Chad Everett and Marcus Welby M.D. featured
the return of Robert Young to network TV after a nine year absence.
ABC had a fresh new group of shows including The Brady
Bunch, Room 222, Courtship Of Eddie's Father and Love American
By 1969 CBS was still strong with shows such as Gunsmoke,
Mayberry R.F.D. Here's Lucy, Family Affair & Mission