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1996–97 United States network television schedule

This was the United States broadcast television schedule on all six commercial television networks for the fall season beginning in September 1996. All times are Eastern and Pacific, with certain exceptions, such as Monday Night Football.

New series highlighted in bold. Shows ending their runs are highlighted in italics.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[1]

     Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
     Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
     Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.

PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, was in operation, but the schedule was set by each local station.




Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Dangerous Minds Monday Night Football (#7/16.0)
Winter The ABC Monday Night Movie
Spring Spy Game
Follow-up Relativity
CBS Fall Cosby (#20/11.2)
(Tied with The X-Files)
Pearl Murphy Brown Cybill (#30/10.5)
(Tied with Chicago Hope and Dateline NBC – Friday)
Chicago Hope (#30/10.5)
(Tied with Dateline NBC – Friday and Cybill)
Follow-up Ink
Spring Everybody Loves Raymond Cybill Ink
Fox Fall Melrose Place Party Girl Lush Life Local
Winter Ned and Stacey Married... with Children
Follow-up Various
Spring Married... with Children Pauly
NBC The Jeff Foxworthy Show Mr. Rhodes The NBC Monday Movie (#23/11.0)
(Tied with Walker, Texas Ranger, Mad About You and Caroline in the City)
UPN Fall In the House Malcolm & Eddie Goode Behavior Sparks Local
Winter Sparks Goode Behavior
The WB Fall 7th Heaven Savannah Local
Spring Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Note: On CBS, the debut of Ink was delayed by a month due to production problems, resulting in another new sitcom, Pearl, which aired temporarily in its slot before moving to its own originally designated Wednesday time period in late October.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Roseanne Life's Work Home Improvement (#9/14.0) Spin City (#17/11.7) NYPD Blue (#13/2.5)
Winter Various programming
Follow-up Ellen (#29/10.6)
Spring The Practice
Follow-up Soul Man NYPD Blue (#13/12.5)
CBS Promised Land CBS Tuesday Movie
Fox Fox Tuesday Night Movie Local
NBC Mad About You (#23/11.0)
(Tied with Walker, Texas Ranger, Caroline in the City and The NBC Monday Movie)
Something So Right Frasier (#16/11.8) Caroline in the City (#23/11.0)
(Tied with Walker, Texas Ranger Mad About You and The NBC Monday Movie)
Dateline Tuesday (#20/11.4)
UPN Fall Moesha Homeboys in Outer Space The Burning Zone Local
Spring Social Studies
Follow-up Homeboys in Outer Space

UPN premiered the short-lived teenage sitcom Social Studies in March as a midseason replacement. The show lasted for six episodes.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Ellen (#29/10.6) Townies Grace Under Fire The Drew Carey Show (#18/11.5)
(Tied with The NBC Sunday Night Movie)
Primetime Live (#15/11.9)
Winter Grace Under Fire Coach The Drew Carey Show (#18/11.5)
(Tied with The NBC Sunday Night Movie)
Ellen (#29/10.6)
Spring Arsenio
Follow-up Ellen (#29/10.6)
CBS Fall The Nanny Pearl Almost Perfect Public Morals EZ Streets
Follow-up CBS Wednesday Movie
Winter Various programming Orleans
Spring Temporarily Yours Feds EZ Streets
Follow-up Dave's World CBS Wednesday Movie
Fox Fall Beverly Hills, 90210 Party of Five Local
Spring Pacific Palisades
NBC Fall Wings The John Larroquette Show NewsRadio Men Behaving Badly Law & Order (#27/10.8)
(Tied with 3rd Rock from the Sun)
Follow-up Various programming
Winter Chicago Sons
Spring NewsRadio Just Shoot Me! Wings
Follow-up The Single Guy (#8/14.1) Men Behaving Badly
UPN The Sentinel Star Trek: Voyager Local
The WB Fall Sister, Sister Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher The Wayans Bros. The Jamie Foxx Show Local
Spring Smart Guy The Jamie Foxx Show The Wayans Bros.

Note: On CBS, due to the effect of the debut delay of Ink on Monday, the first month of the new season on this night aired Almost Perfect at 8:30 p.m., followed by CBS Wednesday Movies at 9 p.m. The originally planned fall Wednesday lineup took shape at the end of October with Pearl taking over at 8:30 p.m., Almost Perfect moving to 9 p.m., Public Morals debuting at 9:30 p.m., and EZ Streets debuting at 10 p.m.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall High Incident Murder One Turning Point
Winter The ABC Thursday Night Movie
Follow-up Vital Signs Turning Point
Spring The ABC Thursday Night Movie
CBS Diagnosis: Murder Moloney 48 Hours
Fox Martin Living Single New York Undercover Local
NBC Fall Friends (#4t/16.8)
The Single Guy (#8/14.1) Seinfeld (#2/20.5) Suddenly Susan (#3/17.0) ER (#1/21.2)
Winter The Naked Truth (#4t/16.8)
Spring Suddenly Susan (#3/17.0) Fired Up (#6/16.5)



Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Second Noah Coach Common Law Relativity
Winter The ABC Saturday Night Movie
Spring Dangerous Minds The ABC Saturday Night Movie
Midseason Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Leaving L.A. Gun
Summer Family Matters repeats Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Dangerous Minds repeats Spy Game
CBS Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Early Edition Walker, Texas Ranger (#23/11.0)
(Tied with Mad About You, Caroline in the City and The NBC Monday Movie)
Fox Fall COPS COPS repeats Married... with Children Love and Marriage Local
Follow-up America's Most Wanted
NBC Dark Skies The Pretender Profiler

Note: America's Most Wanted would debut in November at 9:00 on Fox. Married... with Children moved to Sundays at 7-8pm in November, Mondays at 9:30 in January, and Mondays at 9pm in February.

Pickups and ShowsEdit




  • America's Most Wanted
  • Beverly Hills, 90210
  • Beyond Belief: Fact Or Fiction
  • Big Deal
  • COPS
  • King of the Hill
  • Lawless
  • Living Single
  • Love and Marriage
  • Lush Life
  • Married... with Children
  • Martin
  • Melrose Place
  • Millennium
  • Ned & Stacey
  • New York Undercover
  • Party Girl
  • Party of Five
  • Pauly
  • Roar
  • Sightings
  • The Simpsons
  • Sliders
  • The X-Files


  • 3rd Rock from The Sun
  • Boston Common
  • Caroline In The City
  • Dateline NBC
  • Dark Skies
  • ER
  • Fired Up
  • Frasier
  • Friends
  • Homicide: Life on the Street
  • The Jeff Foxworthy Show
  • The John Larroquette Show
  • Just Shoot Me!
  • Law and Order
  • Mad About You
  • Men Behaving Badly
  • Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?
  • Mr. Rhodes
  • The Naked Truth
  • NewsRadio
  • Out All Night
  • The Pretender
  • Profiler
  • Seinfeld
  • The Single Guy
  • Something So Right
  • Suddenly Susan
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Wings


  • The Burning Zone
  • Goode Behavior
  • Homeboys in Outer Space
  • In The House
  • Malcolm and Eddie
  • Moesha
  • The Sentinel
  • Social Studies
  • Sparks
  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • Sweet Valley High

The WBEdit

  • 7th Heaven
  • Brotherly Love
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Full House
  • The Jamie Foxx Show
  • Kirk
  • Life with Roger
  • Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher
  • The Parent 'Hood
  • Savannah
  • Sister, Sister
  • The Steve Harvey Show
  • Unhappily Ever After
  • The Wayans Bros.


  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.