Quantifying the Golden Age of Television: It Really Was 1950-1970

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Proof that I Love Lucy really was the pinnacle of filmed entertainment. Except for the The Wire, of course. tv-new1-660x449.jpg
Samuel Arbesman has a fascinating post up in which he attempts to quantify the Golden Age of Television. His method was to use how long a show ran as a proxy for its quality, which seems like a decent option. By that metric, as you can see above, the period from 1950 to 1970 produced a remarkable number of long-lived shows. He also notes that there was a brief quality (or popularity) bubble in the last 1990s. That would be due to shows like the West Wing and Friends.

Completely unrelated but fascinating datapoint: 40 million American still see an episode of I Love Lucy each year. The show debuted in 1951.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/quantifying-the-golden-age-of-television-it-really-was-1950-1970/252302/