Covering September 19 to December 4, 1994
The fall of 1994 saw two all-time classic show premiere on the broadcast networks. Also, there were some of the all-time clinkers with them.
E.R. and FRIENDS both premiered on Thursday night. Two of the great "Must See TV" series on NBC. Both were instant hits, but it was E.R. that first became the Mega-Hit (Top 5). FRIENDS took a little longer as it was only a top 20 regular.
That same season NBC also debuted another Thursday comedy, MADMAN OF THE PEOPLE, staring Dabney Coleman. The series did well in the ratings, but it would regularly lose 30-40 percent of the lead in audience provided by SEINFELD.
Other series making their debuts in September were PARTY OF FIVE (FOX), MY SO-CALLED LIFE (ABC), CHICAGO HOPE (CBS), EARTH 2 (NBC) TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL (CBS), THE COSBY MYSTERIES (NBC), BLUE SKIES (ABC), FORTUNE HUNTER (FOX) and M.A.N.T.I.S. (FOX).
FORTUNE HUNTER was one of the first series to be axed. It had the benefit of getting NFL Football as a lead in, but regularly was at the bottom of the rankings. Only 5 of the 13 episodes aired on FOX and Rupert Murdock fired Sandy Grushow, president of Fox Entertainment, for the ultra-failed scheduling move.
Only seven out of 29 new series SURVIVE for 1995/96 season.
Season two for THE X-FILES saw tremendous ratings growth on Friday nights. It rose from 8-10 million viewers and a regular ranking around #80 in 1993-94 season, to 15 million viewers and ranking in the 50's. All this despite the weak lead in from the freshman clunker M.A.N.T.I.S.
Do you remember the sequel to GONE WITH THE WIND? Well, it was a world premiere TV mini-series in the fall of 1994. SCARLETT aired, on CBS, eight hours in November to great ratings with Part 1 taking the top spot for its week (29.5 million viewers/32 share). The next three parts did fall off, only scoring an average of 23 million viewers/27 share.
In the network ratings, the fall was a very tight battle between ABC, CBS and NBC. Just a half a ratings point would separate first from third place. But through November, ABC was slowly starting to separate itself from the other two.
FOX was getting stronger. It was now only about 4 ratings points behind the third place network.
Nielsen Broadcast ratings charts for May 30 - September 18, 1994