This was the television schedule on all three networks for the fall season beginning in September 1963.
ABC began its new fall schedule a week early, beating CBS and NBC out of the starting gate. New series debuting this week included sci-fi anthology The Outer Limits, police/lawyer series Arrest and Trial, drama The Fugitive, and game show 100 Grand. ABC also completely revamped its Friday night schedule, with three new series: detective show Burke's Law, sitcom The Farmer's Daughter, and boxing program The Fight of the Week. Fight would mark the end of boxing on network television. Boxing had debuted on network TV in 1946 and had enjoyed a run on all networks at various times, but after September 11, 1964, boxing would disappear entirely from network television.
CBS's success with rural comedies The Andy Griffith Show and The Beverly Hillbillies had convinced the network that rural sitcoms would continue to be popular. As a result, CBS president James Aubrey added what some critics described as an "endless procession of country clones [of] the wildly successful Beverly Hillbillies" to the network's schedule. Petticoat Junction, from the same producers of Hillbillies, debuted on September 24.
Westerns continued to be popular on television, and all three networks scheduled several Western series. NBC, in particular, retained a number of Westerns on its fall 1963 schedule: two returning series The Virginian and Bonanza, and new series Temple Houston, and Redigo. NBC's Western-heavy schedule would pay off, as Bonanza again became the second highest-rated TV series in the Nielsen ratings that year; The Virginian reached #17. CBS's Gunsmoke reached #20.
All times are Eastern and Pacific. New fall series are highlighted in bold. The highest-rated show for the year is colored in gold. The second highest-rated show is colored in silver. The third highest-rated show is colored in bronze. Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its (rank/rating) as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
|ABC||Local||The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters||Arrest and Trial||100 Grand||ABC News Reports|
|CBS||Lassie (25.0 rating, #13)||My Favorite Martian (26.3 rating, #10)||The Ed Sullivan Show (27.5 rating, #8)||The Judy Garland Show||Candid Camera (27.7 rating, #7)||What's My Line? (22.6 rating, #25)|
|NBC||The Bill Dana Show||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (23.0 rating, #21)||Grindl||Bonanza (36.9 rating, #2)||The Du Pont Show of the Week|
Mister Ed aired on CBS, 6:30 to 7 p.m.
|ABC||The Outer Limits||Wagon Train||Breaking Point|
|CBS||To Tell the Truth (22.6 rating, #24)||I've Got a Secret (25.0 rating, #12)||The Lucy Show (28.1 rating, #6)||The Danny Thomas Show (26.7 rating, #9)||The Andy Griffith Show (29.4 rating, #5)||East Side/West Side|
|NBC||NBC Monday Night at the Movies||Hollywood and the Stars||Sing Along with Mitch|
Note: Beginning in September, CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite (formerly Walter Cronkite with the News) and The Huntley-Brinkley Report expanded to a half hour, airing weeknights at 6:30 p.m. in most zones. However some cities (including New York City) would air them at 7:00 p.m.
|ABC||Combat!||McHale's Navy (22.8 rating, #23)||The Greatest Show on Earth||The Fugitive (21.7 rating, #28)|
|CBS||Marshal Dillon (Gunsmoke repeats)||The Red Skelton Hour (25.7 rating, #11)||Petticoat Junction (30.3 rating, #4)||The Jack Benny Program (25.0 rating, #12)||The Garry Moore Show|
|NBC||Mr. Novak||Redigo||The Richard Boone Show||The Bell Telephone Hour / The Andy Williams Show|
|ABC||The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (21.6 rating, #29)||The Patty Duke Show (23.9 rating, #18)||The Price Is Right||Ben Casey||Channing|
|CBS||Chronicle / CBS Reports||Glynis||The Beverly Hillbillies (39.1 rating, #1)||The Dick Van Dyke Show (33.3 rating, #3)||The Danny Kaye Show (21.5 rating, #30)|
|NBC||The Virginian (24.0 rating, #17)||Espionage||The Eleventh Hour|
|ABC||The Flintstones||The Donna Reed Show (24.5 rating, #16)||My Three Sons (21.9 rating, #27)||The Jimmy Dean Show||The Edie Adams Show / The Sid Caesar Show||Local|
|CBS||Password||Rawhide||Perry Mason (22.1 rating, #26)||The Nurses|
|NBC||Temple Houston||Dr. Kildare (23.8 rating, #19)||Hazel (22.8 rating, #22)||Kraft Suspense Theatre / Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall (once a month)|
|ABC||77 Sunset Strip||Burke's Law||The Farmer's Daughter||10:00 The Fight of the Week / 10:45 Make That Spare|
|CBS||The Great Adventure||Route 66||Twilight Zone||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour|
|NBC||International Showtime||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre / Chrysler Presents a Bob Hope Special||Harry's Girls||The Jack Paar Program|
|ABC||Hootenanny||The Lawrence Welk Show||The Jerry Lewis Show (ends 11:30)|
|CBS||Jackie Gleason and his American Scene Magazine (24.6 rating, #15)||The New Phil Silvers Show||The Defenders||Gunsmoke (23.5 rating, #20)|
|NBC||The Lieutenant||The Joey Bishop Show||NBC Saturday Night at the Movies|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 162–170. ISBN 0-07-010269-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 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.
- ↑ http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1963.htm
- Castleman, H. & Podrazik, W. (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. 314 pp.
- McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
- Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1984). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.