Falcon Crest & Nielsen Ratings

ClassyCo

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Are the ratings that circulate the internet accurate?

How popular was the show really?

Viewership totals?
 

ClassyCo

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From the best of my understanding, Falcon Crest got ratings that far-exceeded expectations when Lana Turner first came on the show. One assumes, and probably quite accurately, that the sole reason CBS had Turner on the show was for such a ratings turnout as they wound up achieving. The first four seasons routinely placed in the top fifteen of the Nielsen's, while the remaining seasons fell steadily in viewership. Later years, as the story seems to tell, brought on a parade of guest stars for different arcs to prop up ratings and generate buzz, but the series hit a wall in 1988 and was proclaimed TV's "Most Ruined Show". According to what I've heard (considering I'm not even half done with the show), the final season was an attempt to give the show a shot of new life, but the attempt flopped, and it was canned when it apparently slipped to #81 in the ratings in 1990.
 

Grant Jennings

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"Falcon Crest" initially had very good ratings, good enough to indicate it was more than just carry-over from "Dallas" which preceded it. I think the addition of movie stars like Leslie Caron and Kim Novak helped hold on to existing viewers rather than win new viewers to the show. "Falcon Crest" had been in the top ten shows from seasons two through four but slipped in season five. "Miami Vice's" first season (which aired opposite season four of "Falcon Crest") didn't receive spectacular ratings but the show generated a lot of publicity which resulted in its rise into the top ten the following year (the only season to do so) which was when "Falcon Crest" dropped out of the top 20.

Once the hype surrounding "Miami Vice" died down so did its ratings - considerably - but "Falcon Crest" never rebounded. The loss of several key cast members and the overall decline of interest in prime-time soaps were enough to cost the show ratings but I think the season nine retooling hastened the show's loss of viewership and eventually brought about its cancellation. At least Jane Wyman/Angela Channing gave the show a good send-off.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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They fired the show runner who'd essentially made FC a hit, Bob McCullough, after Season 3 in 1984 over studio politics. And the show was just never the same.

Around the same time, Lorimar was hiring Donna Reed to play Mis-Ellie.

So the executives were batting a thousand that year. :rolleyes:
 

stevew

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Season 9 might have been their idea of a shot of new life but the doctor was a idiot. They wiped out the show and gave you crappy new characters. They lost Jane Wyman - nothing could be done about that, it was her health. So instead of doubling down on the remaining characters and tried and true story’s of family, love, sex, business and underworld figures which were specific to the Falcon Crest brand, they gave us crap that was more a kin to TNT Dallas - another show with a few original, sidelined characters. What they needed: more Lance, more Richard (Susan Sullivan left too) and more Chao-Li.
 

Jock Og

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Good postings there from the OP; Grant, Snarky and Steve. The Nielsens are as accurate as you will get, with regard to a show's popularity. It is no big surprise that FALCON CREST had its best popularity from seasons one to four inclusive. While I still supported the show with the change of hands those early years were the most cohesive. Here is a rundown of the Neilsen ratings from 1981 to 1990:

1981 - '82:
DALLAS 1st
DYNASTY 19th
FALCON CREST 13th
FLAMINGO ROAD 68th
KNOTS LANDING 43rd

1982 - '83:
DALLAS 2nd
DYNASTY 5th
FALCON CREST 8th
KNOTS LANDING 20th

1983 - '84:
DALLAS 1st
DYNASTY 3rd
FALCON CREST 7th
KNOTS LANDING 11th

1984 - '85:
DALLAS 2nd
DYNASTY 1st
FALCON CREST 10th
KNOTS LANDING 9th

1985 - '86:
DALLAS 6th
DYNASTY 7th
FALCON CREST 24th
KNOTS LANDING 17th
THE COLBYS 35th

1986 - '87:
DALLAS 11th
DYNASTY 24th
FALCON CREST 23rd
KNOTS LANDING 26th
THE COLBYS 64th

1987 - '88:
DALLAS 21st
DYNASTY 41st
FALCON CREST 42nd
KNOTS LANDING 31st

1988 - '89:
DALLAS 30th
DYNASTY 69th
FALCON CREST 52nd
KNOTS LANDING 28th

1989 - '90:
DALLAS 43rd
FALCON CREST 81st
KNOTS LANDING 34th


The Tuscany Valley residents are gathered at a function, to remember Chase who is presumed drowned in the San Francisco Bay, (a scene from season 7, 1987 - '88):

Fr. Curtis: "Could I have everybody's attention please! I would like to thank you all for coming and for sharing with the Gioberti family, in celebrating the memory of Chase."

Angela: "Thank you Father! Everyone in the Valley know how Chase and I felt about each other but despite our differences he was family and he was a Gioberti. So he will be honoured as such. I present this gift to his family, as a reminder of how much he meant to each and everyone of us."

The plaque reads: 'CHASE GIOBERTI - YOU WILL BE MISSED.'
 

Chris2

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Falcon Crest was expected to have strong ratings, given its lead-in. One those strong ratings began to decline (it slipped from 10th to 24th in its 5th season), they almost completely changed the production/writing staff. It didn’t help much (the ratings stayed steady in season 6, but that was due more to the fact that it no longer faced “Miami Vice”). And the ratings continued to decline significantly every year after that.
 

stevew

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I always wondered why no tie in’s with Dallas go make it part of the same universe.

The genre was fading. But once they lost Jane Wyman they jumped off the deep end.
 

Toni

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Season 9 might have been their idea of a shot of new life but the doctor was a idiot. They wiped out the show and gave you crappy new characters. They lost Jane Wyman - nothing could be done about that, it was her health. So instead of doubling down on the remaining characters and tried and true story’s of family, love, sex, business and underworld figures which were specific to the Falcon Crest brand, they gave us crap that was more a kin to TNT Dallas - another show with a few original, sidelined characters. What they needed: more Lance, more Richard (Susan Sullivan left too) and more Chao-Li.
That was the moment when FC needed David Paulsen too: he would have done wonders in its last season as he did with "Dynasty". Get Cole, Vickie, Peter, Julia, and Tony back, and focus on the family again. Even bring Samantha Ross back for a couple of episodes. And end it with another murder story: who killed Pilar Ortega (she HAD TO die!) in an "Orient Express"-like scenario. Everybody hates Pilar...and finally the family gets along and they are all together for the good and the bad...
 

Jimmy Todd

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I always wondered why no tie in’s with Dallas go make it part of the same universe.

The genre was fading. But once they lost Jane Wyman they jumped off the deep end.
At the very least I would have liked to have seen the characters on Dallas and KL
drinking Falcon Crest wine. It would also have been cool to see Sue Ellen reading Maggie's book Sudden Friendship, Abby and Greg reading one of Donna Krebs' books, and Vicki reading Capricorn Crude.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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That was the moment when FC needed David Paulsen too: he would have done wonders in its last season as he did with "Dynasty".
True, but I always want Paulsen to take over Season 7... Or me.

All those cases of Spontaneous Human Combustion, and tainted bottles of chardonnay, and brain tumors wrought by nuclear waste buried under the vineyards by Jacqueline, and giant scorpions, and giant birds of prey attacking the family in the season finale, etc.

It's one of my ghost seasons that never happened, yet I find more vivid than what they actually did. I have those ghost seasons for late-DALLAS, and much of DYNASTY including Season 10... Shame no one can see them.
 

Daniel Avery

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To write around JW's leave of absence in season nine, we see her literally snatched from the veranda of the mansion by a giant, eagle-like creature the size of a pterodactyl. When she's able to return we see her claw her way out of a huge nest on a rocky ledge in the Sierras, cursing and muttering Richard's name as she has to scale the rock face all by herself and return to Tuscany. Oddly enough, however, not a hair on her head is out of place the entire time. The only sign of distress from her ordeal is when Chao-Li asks how she would like her eggs; she responds with a Danny Thomas-like spit-take of orange juice.
 

Falcon Crest I

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That was the moment when FC needed David Paulsen too: he would have done wonders in its last season as he did with "Dynasty". Get Cole, Vickie, Peter, Julia, and Tony back, and focus on the family again. Even bring Samantha Ross back for a couple of episodes. And end it with another murder story: who killed Pilar Ortega (she HAD TO die!) in an "Orient Express"-like scenario. Everybody hates Pilar...and finally the family gets along and they are all together for the good and the bad...
Line up Lance, Richard, Charley and Ned....which one of bumped off beautiful but sly Pilar? Or was the culprit Julia in her nun's habit. There was a metal cruxifix beside Pilar's body. Did somebody make it look as if Julia killed Lance's third wife?
 

Chloe-Fusco

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Oh gosh Dynasty dropped to 69th in the final season. People must have been tuning out big time just when the show had got much better in quality. No surprise though that FC was almost at the bottom of the hill in 89 - 90 and such car crash TV. Sad times then!
 
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ClassyCo

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Oh gosh Dynasty dropped to 69th in the final season. People must have been tuning out big time just when the show had got much better in quality. No surprise though that FC was almost at the bottom of the hill in 89 - 90 and such car crash TV. Sad times then!
The time slot had changed. The lack of promotion led to the decline, and I'm sure people didn't feel the show itself would have been any better, even though we now know that it was.
 

Gioberti84

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The curse of the late eighties was apparent towards the end for the genre, Knots was the exception standing tall and prospering into the early nineties. The last of Dallas might even have been worse in quality than the final Falcon Crest year. Barbara Bel Geddes and Victoria Principal should have been encouraged to appear for JR's wonderful life episode parody.
 

Arlene Halloran

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At the very least I would have liked to have seen the characters on Dallas and KL
drinking Falcon Crest wine. It would also have been cool to see Sue Ellen reading Maggie's book Sudden Friendship, Abby and Greg reading one of Donna Krebs' books, and Vicki reading Capricorn Crude.
Now wouldn't that all have been something ;).
 

Chloe-Fusco

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Would most fans agree that Stephanie Beacham was a classy addition to the Dynasty cast in 1988? I loved all her scenes she had with Joan Collins. They were cousins in the show who just didn't get on and those quips between them were so funny.
 
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