30 Top Shows from The Disco Era

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Get up and boogie!

Forty years ago, televisions didn't look quite as different as it does today. In fact, it starts to look a lot more like our present day telly in a lot of ways.

The number of households with TV sets went up from about 55,000,000 ten years earlier to 71,200,000. The numbers you're seeing in the show represents total viewers.

Skim through the slideshow below for some hints on what's similar, and if you missed our 30 Top Shows from the Swinging Sixties, get a look at what you could have been watching 50 years ago! Yikes.

30. Alice

Alice
Alice – CBS – 14,240,000 – Alice was a show about three waitresses and their big dolt of a diner owner. Three women driving a man crazy.

29. The Tony Randall Show

The Tony Randall Show
The Tony Randall Show – ABC – 14,311,200 – Considered a flop, I watched the pilot while researching the show. They were right.

28. ABC Friday Night Movie

ABC Friday Night Movie
ABC Friday Night Movie – ABC – 14,382,400 – America was still enjoying the occasional movie of the week or the theatrical run on TV.

27. Sanford and Son

Sanford and Son
Sanford and Son – NBC – 14,453,600 – It turns out there is a lot of fun to be had between a son and his father who runs a junkyard. Redd Foxx was a funny man!

26. Good Times

Good Times
Good Times – CBS – 14,596,000 – Good Times was about a poor African American family having good times despite it all while living in the housing projects in Chicago. As JJ would say, Dy-No-Mite!!!

25. What's Happening!!

What's Happening!!
What's Happening!! – ABC – 14,880,800 – Three best friends learn about life and love and a whole lot more in the inner city. Remember the allusion to the show on This Is Us? Hey, hey, hey!!!

24. The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons
The Jeffersons – CBS – 14,952,000 – The Jeffersons, George and Wheezy, moved on up to a deluxe apartment after they moved away from their racist neighbors, Archie and Edith Bunker.

23. Eight is Enough

Eight is Enough
Eight is Enough – ABC – 15,023,200 – Teen crushes a go go on this show. But it started out sad and with a very good lesson about family and love.

22. Monday Night Football

Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football – ABC – 15,094,400 – Now this would probably be at the very tippy top of the charts.

21. Rich Man, Poor Man, Book II

Rich Man, Poor Man, Book II
Rich Man, Poor Man, Book II – ABC – 15,379,200 – Miniseries were still hot stuff in the 70s. Nice to see they're making a comeback!

20. NBC Monday Night Movie

NBC Monday Night Movie
NBC Monday Night Movie – NBC – 15,521,600

19. Hawaii Five-O

Hawaii Five-O
Hawaii Five-O – CBS – 15,592,800 – Hey!!! Same show is still on the air 40 years later! ding ding ding ding ding ding The cast and the O is a little different, but pretty cool, right?

18. 60 Minutes

60 Minutes
60 Minutes – CBS – 15,592,800 – This one is a real winner, having never gone off the air for the past 40 years. I don't think. Eeep.

17. Barney Miller

Barney Miller
Barney Miller – ABC – 15,806,400 – Barney Miller was a very funny cop show with a lot of Polish jokes.

16. Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie – NBC – 15,877,600 – You can still catch reruns of Little House on cable any day of the week.

15. The Waltons

The Waltons
The Waltons – CBS – 15,877,600 – Historical family dramas tended to last a long time, and they appeared to do about the same in the ratings. Do The Americans viewers recognize Frank Gaad in this photo?

14. The Bionic Woman

The Bionic Woman
The Bionic Woman – ABC – 15,948,800 – The first of two women on this list I would have given my eye teeth to become. Not only bionic, but to BE her. Jaime Somers, Lindsay Wagner. Total girl crush! I was always the Bionic Woman to my friend's Wonder Woman. Blonde and brunette.

13. Welcome Back, Kotter

Welcome Back, Kotter
Welcome Back, Kotter – ABC – 16,162,400 – The coolest class of goofy, stupid guys on television. And how dreamy was John Travolta back in the day?

12. All in the Family

All in the Family
All in the Family – CBS – 16,304,800 – When racism and crass humor played well on TV because it helped temper the times as they were a changin'. Note all of the African American shows on this list.

11. Three's Company

Three's Company
Three's Company – ABC – 16,447,200 – Such a delightful and politically incorrect show. The stupid blonde, the man playing gay to live with two girls and the landlord making all the crude homosexual jokes in the world. Awful, but John Ritter was an American Treasure. Now his sons are representing!

10. One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time
One Day at a Time – CBS – 16,660,800 – Norman Lear brought this one back to Netflix last year updated with Latina women in the main roles. I still ask men with tool belts if they're trying to be Schneider.

9. Baretta

Baretta
Baretta – ABC – 16,660,800 – I don't remember much about this other than he was short and loved Fred, the bird. Oh, and the actor was later held on trial for killing his wife, so there's that!

8. ABC Sunday Night Movie

ABC Sunday Night Movie
ABC Sunday Night Movie – ABC – 16,660,800

7. The Six Million Dollar Man

The Six Million Dollar Man
The Six Million Dollar Man – ABC – 17,230,400 – The show was getting long in the tooth by this time. Look at his hair!! But as a little one, I could play Bionic Woman and a Charlie's Angel and still date him during playtime, because he was married to Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Hehe

6. The Big Event

The Big Event
The Big Event – NBC – 17,372,800 – This was events such as Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas, An Evening with Diana Ross, etc. Very big events!!

5. Charlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels – ABC – 18,369,600 – Some properties just stand the test of time, right? Everyone knows this one because it's always on the verge of another reboot.

4. M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H – CBS – 18,440,800 – This was something your family either loved and watched obsessively or not. Mine did.

3. ABC Monday Night Movie

ABC Monday Night Movie
ABC Monday Night Movie – ABC – 18,512,000

2. Laverne & Shirley

Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley – ABC – 22,000,800 – This spinoff from Happy Days settled nicely into the number two spot, right after its mother. Every pair of best girlfriends imagined living in an apartment in the city, getting into wild hijinks like Laverne and Shirley!

1. Happy Days

Happy Days
Happy Days – ABC – 22,428,000 – Nobody could beat the Fonz back in the day. Happy Days were here to stay. It was fun and funny and made people smile. Sort of like The Big Bang Theory of today.

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