Batman Ratings

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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clavierankh
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Batman Ratings

Post by clavierankh »

Authir Marc Cushman has written Irwin Allen's Lost In Space. It is in three volumes 1 per season. At the end of each chapter he has the ratings by half hour for all three networks. I have compiled this into a spread sheet.


There are six first and second season Wednesday episodes thaat dis not run opposite a first run episode of Lost In Space so no ratings exist for them. They are :

Fine Finny Fiends
Shoot A Crooked Arrow
Marsha Queen Of Diamonds
The Penguin Declines
The Thirteenth Hat
The Purr-Fect Crime

Assuming the accuracy of this data we can debunk the story that Chandell was the highest rated episode of the series. It was the third highest rated episode of the second season and all the first season episodes that I have information for ranked higher.

The highest ranked second season episode I have date for is Batman's Anniversary. 20.7 and 34.9 share. Perhaps it was a curiosity factor to see the new Riddler.

The highest ranked over alll was Ring of Wax.
Here is a link to a drop box if you wouls like the CSV version of the spreadsheet. I hope eventually we can fill in the rest of the ratings data.

This is Wednesday episodes only.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0h73792gbpkl6 ... s.csv?dl=0

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bat-rss
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by bat-rss »

Interesting about the Ring of Wax. Probably a testament to how much of a draw Gorshin was.

Glad to have some hard evidence that Chandell was NOT the highest-rated episode of the entire series! Thanks!

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High C
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by High C »

clavierankh, thank you so much.

It is amazing to see how precipitous the decline was in cold, hard numerals.

Some thoughts:

1--I'm surprised the Catwoman part 1s didn't move the needle just a little bit more. Maybe the little boys saw A GIRL was featured, yelled 'COOTIES' and switched over to Lost in Space to watch Will, Dr. Smith and the Robot.

2--I think you're right, clavierankh, or it's possible word of mouth on the Astin part 1 was just 'The Riddler is back' and some folks didn't get the rest of the message.

3--It really bottomed out at 12.4 for the Puzzler, probably a combo of people Christmas shopping and Maurice Evans not being a huge name in America.

4--The Zodiac Crimes getting only a 15.2 for part 1 had to be disappointing, considering it was a major villain teamup with some decent outdoor location shooting and a first anniversary 'event' for Greenway's Batman.

5--I will give a mea culpa to some extent. Tallulah Bankhead's Black Widow got a decent 16.1 rating, better than many other part 1s. Dozier thought she would move the needle big-time in his correspondence to ABC at that time and I've tended to disagree. I suppose one could say she really didn't, but 16.1 was better than many other part 1s in season 2.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Ben Bentley
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Ben Bentley »

Huge kudos and thanks to you Clavierankh for putting this together and sharing!

Really fascinating to see more than just a handful of these episodes in context of each other, rather than just the random week to week standalone information that i've seen over time.

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Jim Akin
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Jim Akin »

Great discovery, ClavierAnkh! I gather some kind of Nielsen subscription was needed to obtain those numbers, at least at one time. I'm unfamiliar with ratings as a tool, and have no idea if a current subscription would provide access to historical numbers or not, if Nielsen even maintains historical numbers, whether 1960s ratings were published at the time in trade media or elsewhere, etc.

I don't know if it will bear fruit, but I shot Marc Cushman a note in hopes to of learning his methods for digging up the numbers for his books. If I hear back I'll share the info here. (I'm hoping there's an approach that doesn't require a pricey subscription.)

It'd be interesting to track down Batman's Thursday ratings for any number of reasons, but I'd especially like to verify/quantify the trend that supposedly led Greenway to end the "We've already seen..." recaps at the opening of the Thursday-night episodes. The premise was that some viewers were skipping Wednesday-night Batmans (to watch Lost in Space?) and only tuning in Thursdays, relying on the recaps to bring them up to speed.

If that were true, Thursday night numbers should have been stronger than Wednesdays', for at least part of season 2. I'm curious to see if that was indeed the case, and whether eliminating the recaps had any impact on either night's numbers. (From the spreadsheet data, it looks like Wednesday night viewership, in terms of both ratings and audience share, continued to dwindle through November 1966, despite elimination of the recaps.)

Also, in case anyone else was wondering, I looked up the difference between Ratings and Share just to make sure I understood. Per SRDS.com, a website that sells services to ad buyers:
Rating is the audience of a particular program or station at a specific period of time expressed as a percent of the audience population. The percent sign is not shown, and the rating may represent household viewing or a specific demographic audience segment's listening or viewing.

Share is the audience of a particular television program or time period expressed as a percent of the population viewing TV at that particular time. Share, then, is a percent allocation of the viewing audience and differs from the rating which is a percent of the potential audience. Share is usually reported on a household basis.

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clavierankh
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by clavierankh »

Jim,
Thanks fro contacting Cushman. Do let us know what you find out. I think a Nielson subscription is required although the info might be available in back issues of Variety or a magazine like that.

I would love to see the Thursday ratings since I assume they would be higher than Wednesday for the reasons you state.

High C,

I too was surprised at how precipitous the drop was in Season 2/ I'd like to see the Archer ratings. Airing against a Lost In Space rerun it may have had a good rating \. MAybe people didn't like what they saw ib that episode, a weak villain in a weak story, and tuned out.

+As for Catwoman. As a 10 year old when Batman premeired I don't recall being turned off by Catwoman though I was not completely aware of her "charms". I do think her episodes were less colorful and had less action than those with Joker and Penguin for example.

I'd like to see the ratings for the missing episodes. Those that didn't have new Lost in Space episodes for competition or had Specials like Young Peoples Concerts probably did better.

The Purrfect Crime ratings might not tell much because of the unusual circumstances the episode aired under. For those who don't know: The Gemini 8 mission launched that morning amd just before evening the craft started tumbling do to a stuck thruster forcing an emergency landing. Lost In Space was completely preempted and in the east Batman was interrupted several times. In the west the episode was completely preempted. IN the west ( at least in LA) The Purr-fect Crime aired Thursday at 7:30 and Better Luck Next Time aired Friday at 7:00 so I don't even know how they would have reported these ratings. I know when reruns started the Catwoman arc was the first one repeated.

Last note I was looking at a story that said The Disney Sing A Long that aired last night on ABC getting a 2.6 rating was a good rating. Puzzler's 12.4 would be a smash hit today!

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Jim Akin
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Jim Akin »

Marc Cushman graciously replied to my query, in a rapid, detailed response:
Finding ratings from that era has never been easy. But I have three ways of doing it:

1) From my archival newspapers and trade magazines accounts. They access thousands of different newspapers across America, as well as Variety, and Broadcasting magazines, and several others. In the 1960s, they didn't print ratings very often; usually only several times a year. It became more commonplace in the 1970s and beyond.

2) From the show files of the series I'm writing about. I was granted access to those from the companies which own the series and maintain the archives. Often there are ratings reports, or transcripts showing the data, in the files. In the case of Lost in Space, I was granted access to Irwin Allen's private papers through Synthesis Entertainment. It wasn't cheap.

3) Licensing ratings reports from A.C. Nielsen. I did that for the Star Trek books. It was pretty costly.

Of these three avenues, newspaper archives and trade archives are probably your best bet. Variety.com is $600 annually. They may have a monthly subscription plan, but those sometimes limit access. A general newspaper archive is usually about $200 a year. I use newspapers.com, which has thousands of newspaper archives, but, as said, ratings reports from the 1960s are very rare in newspapers.

And then there is me as a source. I have many of the reports you are interested in for the 1966-67 season, since Star Trek aired on Thursdays that season, and I licensed those reports from A.C. Nielsen. I also have many weekly ratings reports from the trade magazines during that period, as well reports showing the following two seasons for Batman when it was airing on ABC. So, if you like, we could work something out to compensate me for my time in sharing the information I have. I would have to give it some thought in order to quote you a price, since a job such as this would require that I retrieve my research from storage for those periods and either scan or transcribe the info, plus do additional searches through the various trade magazine archives I subscribe to for the weekly rankings. But, should you want to pursue this, I'm certainly willing to discuss.

Best, Marc.
This suggests several promising angles to me, short of trying to get an expensive Nielsen license.
  • It might be possible to find a library with a magazine/newspaper-archive subscription that could be used to find the ratings info. I've worked with a research librarian at my hometown library to dig up historical info of local interest, and he has access to publication databases that aren't available for public use. University libraries (especially those at schools with strong programs in theater arts, TV production, etc.) might have a subscription to the Variety archives that students (and perhaps local community members?) can access directly, without requiring a librarian's intervention. Looking into this might have to wait until after the lockdown, although I also suspect there are lots of librarians with time on their hands, who might be glad for a project about now...
  • Checking the Dozier archive in Laramie. Do any of you folks who've poked around there know if ratings info was part of the trove? I'm sure the Greenway execs reviewed the numbers regularly, but I don't know if they'd have circulated them in memos, filed them in a handy folder, etc. If the info is there, I'd be willing to kick in a few bucks to help cover the in-house researchers' time to dig it out. Do you think they could give us an estimate on what that would run?
  • Engaging Marc himself to dig up the numbers. I have no idea how he'd price his time, whether it'd be more or less cost-effective than working with folks in Laramie (assuming the ratings info is in the Laramie files to begin with), etc. But again, I'd be willing to contribute toward the goal.
Maybe we could consider a board-based crowdfunding effort? If there's interest in that, I'd be happy to follow up with Marc to get an estimate.

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Ben Bentley
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Ben Bentley »

Jim Akin wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:46 am

This suggests several promising angles to me, short of trying to get an expensive Nielsen license.
  • Checking the Dozier archive in Laramie. Do any of you folks who've poked around there know if ratings info was part of the trove? I'm sure the Greenway execs reviewed the numbers regularly, but I don't know if they'd have circulated them in memos, filed them in a handy folder, etc. If the info is there, I'd be willing to kick in a few bucks to help cover the in-house researchers' time to dig it out. Do you think they could give us an estimate on what that would run?
So far in my Dozier-Archive research the only scanned document I have come across regarding ratings so far is attached below. (click to englarge)
Dozier-Neilsen1.jpg
Dozier-Neilsen2.jpg

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clavierankh
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by clavierankh »

Ben,
These look like ratings for rerun season. Might be valuable if we want to collect all the ratings first run and rerun.

I have a subscription to NEWPAPERS.COM which has back issues of lots of newspapers. I will poke around there and see what I can find,

JimmyVale
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by JimmyVale »

High C wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:24 am
clavierankh, thank you so much.

It is amazing to see how precipitous the decline was in cold, hard numerals.
3--It really bottomed out at 12.4 for the Puzzler, probably a combo of people Christmas shopping and Maurice Evans not being a huge name in America.
I just thought I’d add that I rewatched The Puzzler episode recently. Well, I didn’t make it through it because it was unwatchable. I don’t know how the ratings work but if the audience was like me, they started it and switched it off when they realized they were watching some boring soft dude wearing mascara.

Some of the bad ratings could result from a previous episode. Kind of like nobody wanting to see “Solo” because “The Last Jedi” was so bad....”Solo” didn’t stand a chance even though it was a good movie. Maybe the same scenario happened with Batman.

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High C
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by High C »

Some comments:

clavierankh: I did not mind the Catwoman episodes when I was a young lad, I just speaking for young boys that might have felt that way. Personally, as a kid with severe asthma, I hated the Penguin episodes. All his smoking frightened me, honestly.

Jim--I admit, I would be curious about two things vis-a-vis ratings, although I am not sure, honestly, if I would be willing to pay. I would like to know how the show did in September and October 1967, and how it did demographically (although I realize that might not be available) with adult males (aka the Dirty Old Man Market) for Julie Newmar's arcs.

Otherwise, to be honest, I do not think the season 1 and 2 Thursday ratings are all that necessary, other than for academic completeness and the historical record. I think that the Wednesday numbers that clavierankh has so diligently compiled make the point pretty clear, especially for season 2.

A few cases in point--Newmar's first S2 appearance, drawing a 15.7, after she hadn't been seen on the show since the rerun in the spring, had to be seen as a disappointment. And I cannot blame Art Carney, considering Minstrel part 1 bounced back for a 17.2.

The ratings also show that cutting out the Thursday recaps didn't juice the Wednesday ratings. Worse yet, the ratings of a pair of 1967 January Wednesdays show the decline starkly. The beginning of the Joker/Penguin teamup got a 15.2. Two weeks later, the conclusion of the Catwoman arc with Lesley Gore only got a 15.4, and that was for a part 2. It showed the audience really had tired of the format. Remember, this was the juncture when Dozier was told to bring in a new character or else there wouldn't be a season 3.

Ben, thanks for those ratings. The way the ratings dropped off the table from the Batman premieres to the season 1 repeats is amazing. It's as if the adults grabbed the remote controls from their children (had remotes existed in 1966, of course). The Virginian, a 90-minute Western that aired on NBC at 7:30 Eastern, likely ruled the adult audience in this time slot once the initial craze subsided. I suspect parents wanted to catch up on the episodes they missed during Batmania. :lol:
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Dr. Shimel »

The conclusion of the Riddler wax museum caper (Give 'Em the Axe) was up against--with Frank Gorshin as guest star. :lol:

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Bob Furmanek
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Bob Furmanek »

There are six first and second season Wednesday episodes thaat dis not run opposite a first run episode of Lost In Space so no ratings exist for them. They are :

Fine Finny Fiends
Shoot A Crooked Arrow
Marsha Queen Of Diamonds
The Penguin Declines
The Thirteenth Hat
The Purr-Fect Crime


I have access to Variety and I'll see what I can find on those six shows.

I'm pretty sure the high ratings for "Ring of Wax" are a result of Batman being on the cover of TV Guide that week. People that may not have tuned-in decided to check it out!

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Bob Furmanek
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Bob Furmanek »

I was able to find ratings data on two shows:

September 7, 1966
Image

January 18, 1967
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These clippings are from Broadcasting. You can find the issues here: https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Br ... gazine.htm

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Scott Sebring
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Re: Batman Ratings

Post by Scott Sebring »

Great Info Bob. Thanks!
ImageImage

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