The 1950–51 United States network television schedule began in September of 1950 and ended in the spring of 1951.
In September 1950 NBC added two live variety series, Four Star Revue and The Colgate Comedy Hour, to its fall schedule. These programs were a network effort to bring NBC's most popular radio stars to television; talent included Eddie Cantor, Jack Carson, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, Danny Thomas, Ed Wynn, Bob Hope and Fred Allen. The two new star-studded series were scheduled directly against two of CBS's most popular programs: Four Star Revue went up against Arthur Godfrey and Friends on Wednesday nights, while The Colgate Comedy Hour was slated against Toast of the Town. NBC was confident that its strategy would pay off.
CBS answered NBC's schedule with big radio stars and variety programs of its own, bringing in Frank Sinatra and (in occasional specials) Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, and Edgar Bergen. "Despite the big budget variety shows in its schedule, though, CBS felt that situation comedy was actually a more stable television form that would be easier to exploit in the long run".
In many time slots, the underfunded DuMont Network did not bother to compete against NBC's or CBS's hit series, instead airing what some TV historians have called "time-filler". For example: "During its long run [The Johns Hopkins Science Review] was scheduled against such hit shows as Break the Bank [and] Dragnet, programs from which its network had little chance of luring away viewers." During fall 1950, The Court of Current Issues and The Johns Hopkins Science Review aired at the same time as the most heavily-viewed program on television, NBC's Texaco Star Theater. Given the competition, DuMont's Tuesday night public-affairs programming attracted virtually no audience.
New fall series are highlighted in bold. The highest-rated show for the year is colored in lime, the top-ten shows appear in yellow, the top-twenty shows in cyan, and the top-thirty ones in magenta. Each of the top 30 highest-rated shows is shown with its (rank/rating) as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
↑ 1.01.1Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 53–62. ISBN0-07-010269-4.
↑Heldenfels, R. D. (1994) Television's Greatest Year: 1954. New York: Continuum, pg 177–178. ISBN 0-8264-0675-0
↑Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.