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Would More People Have Watched Dallas If It Hadn't Aired On Friday Nights?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    As well as Dallas did, and as many viewers as it had, I have to think that it would have had even more viewers if it had been aired on any night from Sunday through Thursday night. Friday night has a special place in our society. Most people finish their work week at 5 or 5:30 PM on Fridays and they like to go out that night to celebrate. The only night when people are even more likely to go out for entertainment is Saturday night. Also Dallas, unlike Murder She wrote or 60 Minutes, had a lot of viewers in the age range which is most likely to go out on Friday nights. There were some seasons where Dynasty barely edged out Dallas for the number one spot, but Dynasty had the huge advantage of being aired on a night when most people had work or school the next day, so they were more likely to be home then they would have been on a Friday night.

    Suppose Dallas and Dynasty had switched time slots. Do you think Dynasty would have ever beaten Dallas in the ratings if that had been the case? I seriously doubt it. Dynasty never won that number one spot by a good sized margin; it was always close. Usually Dallas beat Dynasty for that spot in spite of airing on Friday nights. Dallas was so good that many people waited until it was over (10 PM Eastern Standard Time) to leave their homes for the night clubs or wherever they where going to go for that night's entertainment. I doubt so many people would have done the same for Dynasty if it had been the show that aired on Friday nights.

    As many viewers as Dallas had, it's hard to make any convincing case for it to have not gotten even more viewers if it had aired on a night from Sunday through Thursday night. That Dallas had the number of viewers it did and for it to have won the number one spot as many times as it did despite airing on Friday nights is a testament to just how good of a show Dallas was and just how big of a place it had in the hearts of people.
     
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  2. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Kenny Coyote, I always look forward to your posts, and this one is no exception!

    You are probably right that Dallas could have pulled in even more viewers if it had aired on a weeknight when people were at the house anyway.

    For you younger viewers who weren't there, please enjoy this blast from the past:

    It was America right before Dallas premiered and we were all about going OUT. Disco was still poplar because we wanted to put on our brightest polyester and go OUT. Roller skating was all the rage because we didn't even have time to walk, we had to be out and about on wheels, baby!

    Then, around the water cooler we start hearing talk of this new show, Dallas. Should we check it out? Maybe, but Dallas was shown on Friday nights and we have plans to be out.

    Then, along comes the summer of "Who Shot J.R." If you weren't there then it's difficult to comprehend how this took over all of America. Everybody was talking about it. Billboards across the land were purchased by business owner's proudly proclaiming, "I shot J.R!" Instead of the usual converstation starters such as "what do you do for a living?" or "how about this weather?" Conversations almost always started with, "Who do you think shot J.R.?"

    You certainly didn't want to miss out on all the fun! And remember that this is before TiVo and Youtube, so either you saw Dallas when it originally aired on Friday night, or you missed it entirely.

    Dallas
    was such a phenomenom that the show literally changed the culture overnight. Suddenly, Dallas made it cool to stay home on Friday nights. People finished their basements and parts of their garages just to host Dallas parties on Friday nights. Monday's talk at the office revolved around last Friday's cliff hanger. It was crazy, and it was a blast!

    But nothing lasts forever, and as the writing and the plots became a little lazy, people moved on. As Kenny Coyote points out, people who might be home anyway, such as on a Monday night, would have perhaps tuned in to watch because it was still better than the other shows that night. But it wasn't worth staying home to watch the Magnificent Bastard, who had become a shell of his former self.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I know Friday is usually the lowest rated night of the week, and Sunday the highest, but it's hard to do better than #1 for several years.

    All eyes were on DALLAS from 1979 to 1987, and in America, its cozy little nook at the end of the week on Friday night was part of its appeal.

    And how do you top #1??
     
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  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    I think hugely successful TV shows, like DALLAS was for some years in the 80s, create their own rules--like, it doesn't matter what night of TV is the most or least watched if you put on a show that becomes, in modern terms, event television, because than that show will bring in huge ratings regardless-- @Lastkidpicked mentioned that as "becoming cool to stay in Friday suddenly." And as @Snarky's Ghost said, that was the case for it being #1. Once you destroy an IP with a dream season, you can put it on any night of the week, and you will still get lousy ratings.
    Even more important--ratings do not mean a show is great. DALLAS became the #1 show in its 1980-1981 season (post-cliffhanger) and had its highest ratings then, even though that was a way more boring season than the one before it or after it.
     
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  5. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    You're telling me-- I just wanted to get through it and move on!
     
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  6. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Newbie

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    If Dallas aired on a school night, I probably wouldn’t have become a fan.
     
  7. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    I still remember those Friday nights. The kids would watch Dukes of Hazzard and the Hulk, then the adults would stay up and watch Dallas.

    Good times. . .
     
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  8. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Fan

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    I was one of the little kids who watched the Dukes every week and was not allowed to watch Dallas (after the theme song and opening sequence, which I loved), which might explain why I was curious about watching the early seasons years later and became a fan.
     
  9. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Newbie

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    Oh yeah, the classic Friday night lineup. I believe Falcon Crest eventually replaced The Hulk.

    But we were allowed to stay up late on Fridays. I still remember the “who shot JR” craze when it was happening. Those were good times.
     
  10. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    Right, and I was one of those people who started watching in season 4. My whole family started watching it just one week before we found out who killed JR. That's why we started watching it. So many people were talking about who shot JR and that the killer would be revealed soon. We wanted to find out who this "J.R." guy was, and why everyone was so interested in him and who shot him. People like us made season 4 get higher ratings than season 3. The fans who were already watching kept watching and then the who shot JR craze added new fans.

    So ratings don't mean that a show is necessarily great but they probably mean it has been great and as more people who watch it tell their friends about it, those new people start watching it. That they kept so many of those fans indicate that Dallas was good enough in season 4 that people were still intrigued enough to keep watching it and then as it got better in the next few seasons we enjoyed it even more than we did in season 4.

    The strength of season 5,6, and 7 should probably have added even more viewers and higher ratings as a result even though they never surpassed their peak ratings of season 4. My guess about what happened there is since Dallas was on Friday nights, by seasons 6 and 7 VCRs with timers were commonplace but hadn't been in the early seasons of Dallas. So some of their fans started going out on Fridays and timer recording Dallas so they could watch it when they got home. Well, Nielsen ratings don't count people who record Dallas and watched it later. So who knows how much higher their ratings would have been if the people who timer recorded it were included. A show like Dynasty wasn't as affected by timer recording because people generally don't go out in weeknights nearly as much as on Friday nights. The timer recording feature meant people no longer had to stay home to see Dallas.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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