According to television historians Castleman and Podrazik (1982), fall of 1953 marked a change in television when the networks began filling their schedules with "grade B" material. The networks' "need to fill so many hours of broadcasting each day put the networks and local programmers into the same position that Hollywood had been in years before with its theatrical features." In between big-budget productions, the networks had to keep the public occupied. As the number of hours that the four TV networks offered programs continued to expand, "the appearance of TV equivalents to grade-B films was almost inevitable."
Castleman and Podrazik also point out that another change was taking place around this time. Filmed television series had been seen since the late 1940s, but were "not considered very important to the networks' schedules" because many were of poor quality; live productions from New York were the norm at this time. CBS's success with filmed program I Love Lucy in fall 1951, however, had convinced NBC to add a few filmed series to its fall 1952 schedule. Among NBC's new filmed TV series were My Hero, I Married Joan, and Doc Corkle. The Red Skelton Show, previously airing live, also made the move to film. NBC also moved Skelton's program from its previous late-evening time to 7 p.m. on Sundays, hoping the program would be a "strong lead-in for the entire evening."
NBC's Sunday night strategy failed, however, because Red Skelton's program suffered from excessive use of rerun episodes when Skelton unfortunately fell ill. Of the network's other filmed series, My Hero was "a weak slapstick vehicle" while Doc Corkle was "generally regarded as the worst sitcom of the new season". It lasted only three weeks before cancellation (replaced by the return of the live Mr. Peepers). With the exceptions of I Married Joan and the revival of The Life of Riley starring William Bendix in January, NBC would have little luck with filmed programs during the 1952–1953 season.
ABC had more luck with its new filmed series, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, while CBS aired the filmed Our Miss Brooks.
Fall 1952 was a major blow for DuMont, when the network's biggest star, Jackie Gleason, moved from DuMont to CBS. Gleason's new CBS series, The Jackie Gleason Show replaced DuMont's Cavalcade of Stars, airing Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Ted Bergmann, DuMont's general director, stated in 2002 that Gleason's much-heralded move to CBS made DuMont look bad. DuMont aired no programs against Gleason's new TV series. One DuMont show, the 60-minute public affairs program New York Times Youth Forum began airing Sundays at 5 p.m. EST on September 14, 1952—outside of prime time—and ran until June 14, 1953.
New fall series are highlighted in bold. The highest-rated show for the year is colored in gold, the second-highest appears in silver, and the third-highest in bronze. Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its (rank/rating) as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
|ABC||You Asked For It||Enterprise||All-Star News||America in View||This Is the Life Starring the Fisher Family||10:00 Hour of Decision / 10:15 Local||Anywhere U.S.A.|
|CBS||The Gene Autry Show||This Is Show Business/The Jack Benny Program (12/39.0)||Toast of the Town||The Fred Waring Show||Break the Bank||The Web||What's My Line? (20T/35.3)|
|NBC||The Red Skelton Show (28/33.7)||Doc Corkle||The Colgate Comedy Hour (7/44.3)||The Philco Television Playhouse (17/37.3) / Goodyear Television Playhouse (15/37.8)||The Doctor||Local|
|DMN||Georgetown University Forum||Local||Rocky King, Inside Detective||The Plainclothesman||The Arthur Murray Party||Youth on the March|
Note: The Jack Benny Program appeared every fourth week this season, with Private Secretary replacing This Is Show Business in February. Doc Corkle was replaced by Mr. Peepers on October 26.
|ABC||Local||Hollywood Screen Test||Inspector Mark Saber – Homicide Squad||United or Not||All-Star News||Local|
|CBS||Local||7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show||Lux Video Theatre||Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (2/54.7)||I Love Lucy (1/67.3)||Life with Luigi (13/38.5)||Studio One|
|NBC||Local||7:30 Those Two / 7:45 Camel News Caravan||What's My Name?||The Voice of Firestone||Hollywood Opening Night||Robert Montgomery Presents||Who Said That?|
|DMN||Captain Video and His Video Rangers||Local||The Power of Women||The Johns Hopkins Science Review||Guide Right||9:30 Football Sidelines / 9:45 Famous Fights||Boxing from Eastern Parkway|
- What's My Name was subsequently renamed The Paul Winchell Show, after its stars, Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney.
|ABC||Local||The Beulah Show||Local|
|CBS||Local||7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 Heaven for Betsy||Leave It to Larry||The Red Buttons Show (11/40.2)||Crime Syndicated/City Hospital||Suspense||Danger||Local|
|NBC||7:00 Local / 7:15 Short Short Drama||7:30 The Dinah Shore Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan||Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle (5/46.7)/The Buick Circus Hour (once a month) (6/46.0)||Fireside Theater (10/40.6)||Armstrong Circle Theater||Two for the Money||10:30 Embassy Club / 10:45 On the Line with Considine|
|DMN||Captain Video and His Video Rangers||Local||Life Is Worth Living||Keep Posted||Where Was I?||Quick on the Draw||Local|
|ABC||Local||The Name's the Same||All-Star News||The Adventures of Ellery Queen||Wrestling from the Marigold in Chicago|
|CBS||Local||7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show||Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (3/47.1)||Strike It Rich (20T/35.3)||Man Against Crime||10:00 Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts (14/37.9) / 10:45 Sports Spot|
|NBC||Local||7:30 Those Two / 7:45 Camel News Caravan||I Married Joan||Cavalcade of America/Scott Music Hall||Kraft Television Theater||This Is Your Life||Local|
|DMN||Captain Video and His Video Rangers||Football Highlights||Local||Stage a Number||Local|
|ABC||Local||The Lone Ranger(29/33.7)||All-Star News||Chance of a Lifetime||Perspectives||On Guard||Local|
|CBS||Local||7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 Heaven for Betsy||The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show||Amos 'n' Andy (25/34.4)/Four Star Playhouse||Biff Baker, U.S.A.||Big Town||Racket Squad||I've Got a Secret|
|NBC||7:00 Local / 7:15 Short Short Drama||7:30 The Dinah Shore Show / 7:45 Camel News Caravan||You Bet Your Life (9/41.6)||Treasury Men in Action (27/34.2)||Dragnet (4/46.8) / Gang Busters (8/42.4)||Ford Theater (30/33.6)||Martin Kane, Private Eye||Local|
|DMN||Captain Video and His Video Rangers||Local||Broadway to Hollywood – Headline Clues||Trash or Treasure||What's the Story||Author Meets the Critics||Local|
|ABC||Local||The Stu Erwin Show (aka Trouble With Father)||The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet||All-Star News||Tales of Tomorrow||Local|
|CBS||Local||7:30 Douglas Edwards with the News / 7:45 The Perry Como Show||Mama (18/37.0)||My Friend Irma||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Our Miss Brooks (22/35.0)||Mr. and Mrs. North||Local|
|NBC||7:00 The Herman Hickmann Show / 7:15 Local||7:30 Those Two / 7:45 Camel News Caravan||The RCA Victor Show Starring Dennis Day||Gulf Playhouse||The Big Story (23/35.0)||The Aldrich Family||10:00 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (24/34.7) / 10:45 Greatest Fights of the Century|
|DMN||Captain Video and His Video Rangers||Local||Steve Randall||Dark of Night||Life Begins at Eighty||Local||Twenty Questions||Down You Go|
Life of Riley (16/37.4), starring William Bendix, replaced Gulf Playhouse in January.
The RCA Victor Show Starring Dennis Day was aired in the first half of 1952 and was hence not a new series in the 1952–1953 season. It was moved to Monday at 9 p.m. on NBC in the 1953–1954 season under the altered title The Dennis Day Show, starring Irish singer Dennis Day.
|ABC||Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club||Live Like a Millionaire||Feature Playhouse||Local|
|CBS||The Stork Club||Beat the Clock||The Jackie Gleason Show||Jane Froman's U.S.A. Canteen||Meet Millie||Balance Your Budget||Battle of the Ages|
|NBC||Watch Mr. Wizard||My Little Margie||All-Star Revue (26/34.3)||Your Show of Shows (19/36.0)||Your Hit Parade|
|DMN||Local||The Pet Shop||Local||Wrestling from the Marigold in Chicago|
- Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 73–80. ISBN 0-07-010269-4.
- Bergmann, Ted; Skutch, Ira (2002). The DuMont Television Network: What Happened?. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4270-X.
- 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.
- 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.
- "TV Ratings: 1952-1953". TV Ratings: 1950 to 2000. ClassicTVHits.com. 20 September 2011. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1952.htm.
- McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
- Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.