Friday, June 04, 2010

25 years ago in TV ratings PART 5: February 1986 Nielsens for animated shows in the weekday early fringe time period as reported by network affiliates

I remember clearly which 80s cartoons I watched on independent channels and which were on the networks because the signals from the UHF independents were weaker than the networks. We didn't have cable and consequently if I wanted G.I. Joe, Robotech, Star Blazers, Wheeled Warriors or Voltron to come in good I had to mess with the UHF antenna. So when my memories of a particular cartoon are literally a little fuzzy then that means it was on our local independent station. Thundercats and He-Man I remember coming in crystal clear so those were definitely run on the network affiliates. While I remember 1986 as being the end of the road for toy robots shows like GoBots, Transformers and Voltron, the February '86 ratings show they didn't give up without a fight. In fact, the February '86 network kids' top ten was the most robotty of all the ratings top tens I've found!

Kids' Rank/ShareHousehold Rank/ShareProgram# of StationsFeb '85 ShrMay '85 ShrNov '85 Shr
02/3648/15He-Man & the MotU14191717
03/3539/17Scooby Doo12201918
06/3145/16Tom & Jerry5182117
07/2660/10Challenge of the GoBots514128
08/2408/23Diff'rent Strokes33212120
10/2407/24Gimme a Break12201920

Other animated shows outside the kids' top 10
11/2259/11G.I. Joe5191913

The top five in the November '85 network ratings had He-Man at #1, then Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry at #3, She-Ra at 4 and Thundercats tied with Transformers for 5th place. The top five shuffled around a little the following February but pretty much held steady with the exception of Transformers, whose drop to 8th made way for Voltron to come in at number 5. Voltron had been declining in popularity ever since they switched from lion to vehicle team in late '84, but the third season where new lion episodes were made airing in late '85 definitely improved their ratings. Voltron wasn't the only robot show to enjoy a resurgence in popularity. The GoBots were also on the rebound, improving from 13th place with a 20 kids' share in November '85 to 7th place with a 26 share here. We're talking both Voltron and GoBots increasing by 6 kids share points each! This is interesting because it highlights a huge decline in network popularity for the Transformers, who tied for fifth place in the November '85 ratings with a 28 kids' share but fell to 8th place here with a 25 share. In the stores toy robots were beginning to fizzle out in popularity so it's hard to make correlations between network ratings and toy sales since kids may have been moving on to Nintendos, but some out there were still very much into watching toy robots on television.

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