Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Biggest Show in Town?

Were the theme song singers right? Was the biggest show in town Huckleberry Hound for all you guys and gals? The answer is “it depends.”

When the Huck show debuted in 1958, a company called the American Research Bureau (now Arbitron) provided a diary-based ratings system for TV shows in various cities. Among the things it measured were ratings for syndicated shows, such as Huckleberry Hound. The results were published in Variety. You’ve read here in contemporary newspaper reports how Huck became a fad. The show’s early ARB numbers reveal it was able to hold its own against all kinds of syndicated programming—and there was an awful lot of it.

Posts about numbers are boring posts, so I’ll apologise in advance if you find this post boring. But I want to go through some of the ratings Huck got in its first few months on the air. Variety wasn’t consistent in which cities were published month to month, so that’s why some markets only appear once. The magazine eventually changed its system in 1959 to publish only the top ten syndicated programmes in a city. And in the second week of January 1959, Huckleberry Hound was the No. 1 syndicated programme in the Seattle-Tacoma area. It was the Biggest Show in Town, at least of the syndicated type.

Variety originally ran the top 20 syndicated shows, chopping the number to the top 10 just after the start of 1959. The first number below is the rating and the second number is the share. One rating point equals 1% of the number of homes with TVs in the market area. The share is the percentage of TV sets tuned to a show in the market. We found that in one rating period in Spokane, Sky King had a 100% share. That’s because it was on at a time when the other stations in the city hadn’t signed on for the day. Interestingly, Huck never cracked the top 20 in Chicago in the first few months after it began airing.

You’ll also found ratings for other syndicated cartoon shows. The Woody Woodpecker Show, the version sponsored by Kellogg’s and emceed by Universal cartoon studio boss Walter Lantz, was extremely popular and rated well in cities where Huck was below the top 20. The Popeye and Looney Tunes cartoons were syndicated by AAP (later UAA), while CBS syndicated Terrytoons and the old Farmer Al Falfa shorts. Huck and Woody ran as part of a five-days-a-week Kellogg’s strip along with Superman and two other filmed shows. The last Variety refers to Huck winning its time slot, showing again it was the Biggest Show in Town (depending on how you look at things).


October 10-17, 1958
NEW YORK
1. Sea Hunt 32.4 67
13. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WPIX 5.6 19
(Popeye, No. 8)

LOS ANGELES
1. Divorce Court 16.7 25
7. Huckleberry Hound (Tue. 6:30) KNXT 11.4 29
(Popeye, No. 14)

SAN FRANCISCO
1. Sheriff of Cochise 24.5 44
19. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:30) KTVU 10.9 22

ATLANTA
1. Big Story 31.5 66
11. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WSB 14.9 48
(Looney Tunes, No. 12; Woody Woodpecker, No. 15)

BALTIMORE
1. Casey Jones 20.3 47
9. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WJZ 12.8 52
(Popeye, No. 7; Woody Woodpecker, No. 9)

BUFFALO
1. Silent Service 35.5 65
17. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:30) WGR 15.5 55

MINNEAPOLIS
1. Death Valley Days 25.5 40
14. Huckleberry Hound (Tue. 6:30) WCCO 10.9 22
(Popeye, No. 9; Looney Tunes, No. 11; Woody Woodpecker, No. 12)

PORTLAND
1. Man Without a Gun 22.5 42
11. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KGW 15.5 41

ROCHESTER
1. Gray Ghost 38.1 57 11. Huckleberry Hound (Fri. 6:00) WVET 19.8 57
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 6; Popeye, No. 7)

October 10-30
BAKERSFIELD
1. Rescue 8 33 53
16. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 7:00) KBAK 21.5 42

CHARLESTON-HUNTINGDON
1. 26 Men 24.3 49
14. Huckleberry Hound (Mon. 6:00) WCHS 13.8 30

DAVENPORT-ROCK ISLAND-MOLINE
1. Harbor Command 39.3 60
18. Huckleberry Hound (Fri. 6:00) WOC 17.5 43

SACRAMENTO
1. Sheriff of Cochise 34.5 57
3. Huckleberry Hound (Fri. 7:30) KCRA 32.4 47

WICHITA
1. MacKenzie’s Raiders 25.8 41
13. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) KAKE 16.3 52
(Looney Tunes, No. 7; Popeye, No. 10; Bugs Bunny, No. 11; Woody Woodpecker, No. 14)

Top 20 National Syndicated Shows
(Based on U.S. Pulse Spot Film Report for October).
Compilation of the top 20 syndicated shows in the U.S. is based on 22 basic markets, representing about 16,391,500 tv homes.
Pulse, in compiling the list, utilizes a weighted average keyed to the number of sets in each of the 22 markets. The weighted average takes in only the markets in which the program has been telecast. In order to qualify, a property must be telecast in at least ten of the 22 markets. Total number of the 22 basic markets included in the rating compilation for each series is listed in the brackets.
The markets include Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle-Tacoma, St. Louis and Washington.
Top 20
1. SEA HUNT (20) 21.1
19. HUCKLEBERRY HOUND (19) 8.6

November 5-12
NEW YORK
Huck not in Top 20

LOS ANGELES
1. Mr. Adams and Eve 16.4 26
15. Huckleberry Hound (Tue. 6:30) KNXT 10.7 25
(Popeye, No. 13)

ATLANTA
1. Big Story 32.2 67
9. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WSB 14.2 41
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 8; Looney Tunes, No. 13; Popeye, No. 16)

BALTIMORE
1. Death Valley Days 23.3 47
7. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WJZ 15.3 63
(Popeye, No. 4; Woody Woodpecker, No. 5)

BUFFALO
1. Silent Service 36.5 65
15. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:30) WGR 16.3 58

CINCINNATI
1. Highway Patrol 27.4 66
13. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:00) WCPO 14.2 48
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 7)

COLUMBUS
1. Sea Hunt 29.2 53
15. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WTVN 14.5 43
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 6)

HOUSTON
1. State Trooper 23.5 38
15. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) KTRK 12.8 47
(Popeye, No. 8; Woody Woodpecker, No. 14)

KNOXVILLE
1. Gray Ghost 35 58
2. Huckleberry Hound (Mon. 6:00) WATE 29.3 62
(Tied with Badge 714 and Highway Patrol)
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 4)

LOUISVILLE
1. Highway Patrol 44.8 56
8. Huckleberry Hound (Tues. 6:30) WAVE 24.8 48
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 15)

MIAMI
1. Highway Patrol 28.5 59
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 7:00) WCKT 18.9 40
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 10)

PORTLAND
1. Casey Jones 19.5 46
6. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KGW 15.9 39

RICHMOND, Va.
1. Sheriff of Cochise 23.5 43
11. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:00) WTVR 12.9 44
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 6; Farmer Al Falfa, No. 9)

SAN ANTONIO
1. Death Valley Days 34.7 56
13. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KONO 16.9 39
(Popeye, No. 14; Woody Woodpecker, No. 17)

SAN DIEGO
1. Sea Hunt 25 53
10. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KFSD 15.2 36
(Popeye, No. 12)

December 1-8
NEW YORK
1. Sea Hunt 32.6 61
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WPIX 7.2 19
(Popeye, No. 7; Woody Woodpecker, No. 8; Terrytoons, No. 15)

LOS ANGELES
1. San Francisco Beat/Sea Hunt 14.7 23
7. Huckleberry Hound (Tues. 6:30) KNXT 12.5 28
(Popeye, No. 12)

ATLANTA
1. Whirlybirds 32.2 65
7. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WSB 18.2 48
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 10; Looney Tunes, No. 11; Popeye, No. 14)

BALTIMORE
1. Death Valley Days 28.3 44
7. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WJZ 16.3 59

CINCINNATI
1. Highway Patrol 29.2 67
5. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:00) WCPO 19.5 68

DETROIT
1. Sea Hunt 28.5 54
10. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 7:00) CKLW 14.5 27
(Popeye, No. 2; Woody Woodpecker, No. 3; Bugs Bunny No. 10 w/28 share)

PROVIDENCE
1. Death Valley Days 25.8 71
15. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WPRO 10.3 51
(Popeye, No. 12; Woody Woodpecker, No. 15)

January 2-9, 1959
NEW YORK
1. Sea Hunt 27.9 52
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WPIX 8.7 21
(Popeye, No. 13; Woody Woodpecker, No. 20)

LOS ANGELES
1. Mr. Adams and Eve 18.4 28
10. Huckleberry Hound (Tues. 6:30) KNXT 11.9 35
(Popeye, No. 6)

ATLANTA
1. Whirlybirds 31.4 68
9. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WSB 18.8 48
(Popeye, No. 14; Woody Woodpecker, No. 15; Looney Tunes, No. 16)

BALTIMORE
1. Death Valley Days 23.8 41
4. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WJZ 17.8 61
(Tied with Superman)
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 2; Popeye Nos. 3, 4)

BOSTON
1. Gray Ghost 24.9 50
11. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WNAC 18.5 43

COLUMBUS
1. Death Valley Days 27.5 41
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WTVN 16.2 43
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 3)

DETROIT 1. Sea Hunt 27.9 51
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 8:00) CKLW 13.9 27
(Popeye, No. 4; Bugs Bunny, No. 6; Woody Woodpecker, No. 8, Farmer Al Falfa, No. 13)

FRESNO
1. People’s Choice 20.8 39
2. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:00) KJEO 20.3 52
(Popeye, No. 5)

MILWAUKEE
1. Whirlybirds 25.2 53
14. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WISN 14.3 45
(Terry Toons, No. 7; Woody Woodpecker, No. 9)

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 2-29)
1. Silent Service 30.7 52
16. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WKY 18.8 48
(Popeye, No. 10; Crusader Rabbit, No. 14; Woody Woodpecker, No. 17)

PORTLAND
1. State Trooper 23.2 44
13. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KGW 18.5 40
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 20)

RICHMOND
1. Whirlybirds 23.9 49
11. Huckleberry Hound (Wed. 6:00 WTVR 16.2 44
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 8; Farmer Al Falfa, No. 15)

SEATTLE
1. Highway Patrol 26.2 44
15. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs 6:00) KING 15.5 36
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 12)

SPOKANE (Jan. 2-29)
1. Death Valley Days 35.8 57
8. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KREM 20.8 50
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 2; Popeye, No. 4)

TACOMA (Jan. 8-14)
1. Citizen Soldier 25.3 38
10. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KING 15.3 33
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 11)

Top 20 National Syndicated Shows
(Based on U.S. Pulse Spot Film Report for January).
1. Sea Hunt (22) Ziv 21.0
18. Huckleberry Hound (21) Screen Gems 18.1

January 5-11, 1959
TOP TEN only
LOS ANGELES
1. Rescue 8 (Tues. 7:00) KRCA Screen Gems 17.2 32.3
7. Huckleberry Hound (Tues. 6:30) KNXT Screen Gems 12.0 27.8
(Popeye, No. 8)

ATLANTA
1. Whirlybirds (Wed. 7:00) WSB CBS 32.4 71.2
9. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WSB Screen Gems 19.1 56.7
(Popeye, No. 3; Woody Woodpecker, No. 5, Looney Tunes/Bosko No. 10)

BALTIMORE
1. Death Valley Days (Mon. 7:30) WJZ 24.0 39.9
5T. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WJZ 19.7 66.8
(Popeye No. 2; Woody Woodpecker, No. 3; Popeye, No. 5T)

COLUMBUS
1. Sea Hunt (Mon. 7:30) WBNS 35.2 62.1
9. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:30) WTVN 22.9 60.1
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 2)

DALLAS-FORT WORTH
1. Death Valley Days (Sat. 9:30) KRLD U.S. Borax 25.8 46.8
6. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KFJZ Screen Gems 16.9 39.4
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 5)

HARTFORD
1. Sky King (Sun. 6:00) WHNC 24.1 60.1
3. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) WHNC 19.6 53.8
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 2; Popeye, No. 4)

KANSAS CITY
1. Mike Hammer (Sat. 9:30) KCMO MCA 27.9 56.3
2t. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KMBC Screen Gems 25.0 53.6

MIAMI
1. Sea Hunt (Fri. 7:00) WTVJ 40.1 67.9
10T. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 7:00) WCKT 21.6 41.2

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL
1. Death Valley Days (Sat. 9:30) WCCO 24.4 49.3
9. Huckleberry Hound (Tues. 6:30) WCCO 15.4 23.8
(Woody Woodpeckerm, No. 2; Popeye No. 3)

PITTSBURGH
1. State Trooper (Sat, 10:3Q) KDKA MCA 34.7 56.6
3. Huckleberry Hound (Mon. 7:30) WTAE Screen Gems 23.8 42.1

PORTLAND, Ore.
1. State Trooper (Tues. 7:00) KGW MCA 38.5 70.0
2. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KGW Screen Gems 32.6 56.4
(Woody Woodpecker, No. 6)

SAN DIEGO
1. Sea Hunt (Thurs. 7:00) KFMB Ziv 34.0 52.6
2. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KFSD Screen Gems 26.2 49.4
(Popeye, No. 3; Woody Woodpecker, No. 5)

SEATTLE-TACOMA 1. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 6:00) KING 26.6 49.5
(Beat local news, Huntley-Brinkley on KOMO)

SYRACUSE
1. Sea Hunt (Wed. 7:00) WSYR 36.3 58.8
10. Huckleberry Hound (Thurs. 5:00) WSYR 25.0 74.6
(Popeye, No. 3; Woody Woodpecker, No. 4)

From Variety, February 25, 1959
KELLOGG'S PAYOFF ON 'HUCKLEBERRY'
High status of "Huckleberry Hound," the nationally-spotted Kellogg cartoon show sold by Screen Gems, is reflected (in the Pulse top 20 chart this week) and in the ARB tv rundown.
Kellogg sponsors the stanza in slightly over 200 tv markets. In the 85 markets covered by ARB for the months of October, November and December, the SG show, the last report available in each market shows "HH" has copped first place over the competition 75 out of 85 times.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see that during the week of December 1-8, 1958, Huckleberry Hound barely made it into the top 10 in Detroit syndication ratings and then fell below but stayed in the stop 20 during a later week a short time later.

    ReplyDelete