History of Prime Time Television charts the 550 most important, popular, and trendsetting TV shows over the past 70 years. Shows are organized by genre represented by streams that grow and shrink over time.
The starting point is the early 1940s when the first TV shows were produced in the drama genre. The number and sizes of streams quickly grow as show creators expand their creativity by moving into such genres as news, reality, and musicals. It's fascinating to see the importance of each genre rise and fall overtime. Shows selected for inclusion have won critical acclaim according to recognized television critics or have wide audience appeal based on Nielsen ratings and awards won. The number of years each show has been aired is mapped allowing you to quickly see how long each show lasted. This graphic was created by Larry Gormley and the design was based on Reebee Garofalo's classic Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music.