‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Has This Accomplishment in Common With ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘I Love Lucy’

The Andy Griffith Show ran from October 1960 to April 1968, and it is regarded as one of the most beloved TV shows of all time. In terms of ratings and quality, The Andy Griffith Show is also considered one of the best shows in U.S. history. The show’s consistently high ratings while it aired earned it an accomplishment that only two other shows, I Love Lucy and Seinfeld, ever achieved.

Dan Knotts and Andy Griffith
Don Knotts as Barney Fife and Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The legacy of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

To many fans, The Andy Griffith Show is timeless. While Andy Griffith himself died in 2012, his legacy and the show’s legacy have lived on. In an interview with the Television Academy, Griffith discussed the show’s impact.

“I don’t think that any of us ever overtly thought about that,” he said when asked about the show’s moral lessons. “I wanted to keep the characters clean. If a joke would make a lie out of a character, we’d throw the joke out. And that became very important, it became a basic rule, and because of the nature of the show, morality just came right along with it.”

Going on to talk about what made the show stand out so much, Griffith praised the comedic actors on The Andy Griffith Show.

“It was family-oriented. It was about a little town and all the people who lived in it, and we had as Bob Sweeney used to say, ‘It looks like an ordinary little town, but it has a little border of insanity around it,'” said Griffith. “And all those fine comedic actors like Don Knotts and Howard McNear and Jim Nabors, all of them made it. They represented that little, that little insane border.”

The accomplishment that all three shows have in common

The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight seasons on CBS, and 159 of the episodes were in black and white and 90 were released in color. In the show, Griffith played a widowed sheriff named Andy Taylor in a fictional town called Mayberry, N.C. Knotts played Andy’s deputy, Barney Fife.

The lowest The Andy Griffith Show ever ranked in the Nielsen ratings was seventh, meaning the show stayed in the top 10 spots during its entire run on CBS. When the show ended in 1968, it ranked No. 1 according to Nielsen ratings.

This made The Andy Griffith Show one of only three shows to have its last season rank No. 1 on TV. I Love Lucy was the first show to achieve this feat when it ran on CBS from October 1951 to May 1957. Later on, the NBC sitcom Seinfeld aired from July 1989 to May 1998, and its last season also ranked No. 1 according to Nielson ratings.


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What it was like working on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

In his interview with the Television Academy, Griffith detailed what it was like working on the hit show.

“We worked on the script on Thursday, read one script, worked another script,” he said. “We’d work on the one that was going to be shot on Monday, then we’d come in and read it again on Friday morning and made some final notes on it.”

The cast would then film the show on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. For the shooting, the TV show notably only used one camera.