Driving 200 miles to deliver a pizza seems like a horror story in the making, but even if there’s no place in America that could possibly be so far away from pizza, one employee at a pizza shop decided to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Dalton Shaffer, an 18-year-old employee at Steve’s Pizza in Battle Creek, Michigan, was presented with a unique opportunity to do some good. Late one night, he received a call from a couple living in Indianapolis who couldn’t get the memory of Steve’s pizza out of their mind from more than 20 years ago.
Julie and Rick Morgan had been planning a trip to Battle Creek with the intention of getting a chance to eat their favorite pizza once again, before realizing they’d have to cancel their trip due to Rick’s cancer being too aggressive. Though he had been moved into hospice care, Julie still wanted to enjoy a taste of Steve’s together while they still could. Of course, the pizzeria was 200 miles away and didn’t deliver, but she decided to give them a call anyway.
After explaining their situation to Dalton, he knew there was only one thing he could do. Without hesitating, he asked what their favorite pizzas were, and then hopped in his car. Shaffer didn’t tell anyone but his brother that he was even leaving. Given the hour, Shaffer didn’t arrive in Indianapolis until about 2 am.
“Rich is home under hospice care and we are enjoying every minute reminiscing and visiting with family and friends,” she wrote on her Facebook, explaining the importance of this particular pizza. “[Early Sunday], while Rich and I slept, at 2:30 a.m., Dalton rolled into our driveway, left the car running and delivered two extra special pizzas to my waiting family. He told them we were in his prayers, and offered to help in any way he could.”
Highest Rated TV Shows Every Year Since The Beginning of Television
Dating back to 1950, the Neilson rating has been monitoring the TV shows with the highest viewership. Since then there has been a yearly winner in determining which show was attracting the most views – these are those winners from the beginning to today.
1950-1951 Texaco Star Theater
The first highest rated television program since Nielsen’s inception, and one of the first ever examples of a successful American television show, Texaco Star Theatre was a comedy program which ran from 1948-1956. Prior to its television airing it had been a successful radio broadcast program which began in 1938. Although most people today probably don’t remember watching this show, it had a huge cultural impact on the United States and its host, Milton Berle became known as “Mr. Television.”
1951-1952 Arthur Godrey’s Talent Scouts
Much like Texaco Star Theater, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts began as a radio program before appearing on American televisions at the beginning of the 1950s. The show could be considered the front runner to all the American Idol styled television programs that are popular today. Host Arthur Godfrey would have his “talent scouts” bring in various performers who, after displaying their skill or talent in front of a live studio audience, would be rated based on the volume of applause.
1952-1955 I Love Lucy
The cultural impact of I Love Lucy and subsequent influence that it had on American television cannot be understated. I Love Lucy was the first show in history to feature an ensemble cast led by actress Lucille Ball and her real-life husband Dezi Arnaz. It was also the first television show to hit number one on the Nielsen rating chart for several years in a row (from 1952 to 1955), playing to an audience of 40 million people each year.
1955-1956 The $64,000 Question
Ever heard someone say, “Well, that’s the 64 thousand dollar question.” and wonder where it came from? Well this is the source. The game show, The $64,000 Question was a quiz show similar to Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in which contestants would answer general knowledge questions which became progressively harder. The winners would walk away with anywhere from $8,000 up to the grand prize which was the $64,000 question – hence the title and now popular expression.
1956-1957 I Love Lucy
Although The $64,000 Question did take the number one Nielsen rated spot between 1955-1956, I Love Lucy was simply a television juggernaut that could not be stopped. When word hit that I Love Lucy was going to be airing its final season audiences simply couldn’t resist. The show went down in history as the first ever to finish airing at number one, an accomplishment that would only be repeated twice in TV history with The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld.
Considered by writer Cecil West to be the American version of the Iliad and Odyssey, Gunsmoke was one of the first Wild West series to be aired for adults. It was also one of the highest rated and longest running series in television history. The show ran a full 20 years, beginning from 1955 all the way until 1975 – a full 635 episodes. Since going off the air it has been ranked as one of the most important television series.
1961-1962 Wagon Train
Following in the footsteps of Gunsmoke, Wagon Train was another American Western series which would eventually find itself on the number one spot on the Nielsen ratings. The show was able to surpass Gunsmoke in terms of popularity by securing numerous famous Hollywood actors as guest stars on episodes, drawing large viewing audiences. Although Wagon Train was incredibly popular, it didn’t manage to last as long as Gunsmoke, only managing to run 284 episodes compared to Gunsmoke’s record of 635.
1962-1964 The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies was a sitcom which followed a poor family from the Appalachian Mountains who, after striking oil on their family farm, pack their bags and move to posh Beverly Hills. When it was first aired, critics couldn’t stand it – many of them considered the humor to be strained or just simply not funny. Yet, in spite of these criticisms, the show was widely enjoyed, and its spot at number one on the Nielsen ratings is evidence of that.
Bonanza was more than just another American Western television series, the show was a trailblazer in its own right. Unlike many shows that had run, Bonanza took the opportunity of its popularity to address social issues which had become the nation’s focus during the 1960s. Episodes and characters dealt with racism, bigotry, and presented moral dilemmas which hadn’t been discussed until that point. For this, Bonanza has gone down in history as one of the most important TV series ever.
1967-1968 The Andy Griffith Show
Running for 8 seasons, the show took place in the 1930s whose nostalgia was popular with viewers who likely wanted to escape the chaos surrounding social and political upheaval taking place in the United States during the 1960s and 70s. The show starred Andy Griffith along with popular comedians Don Knotts and future director, but then child star, Ron Howard. Today, a reunion festival celebrating the show’s history takes place every year in Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
1968-1970 Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
Hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, the show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was a sketch comedy series which poked fun at 1960s and 70s counter and hippie culture of the era. The term “laugh-in”, was based on the sit-in nonviolent protests popular during the civil rights movement of the time. The show was famous both for its regular cast and for the numerous guest stars which would appear each episode including presidential candidate of the time, Richard Nixon.
1970-1971 Marcus Welby M.D.
Marcus Welby, M.D. was a medical drama TV program starring actor Robert Young as the titular character, a kind and caring family practitioner popular with his patients. The show was a trailblazer in its own right, dealing with medical problems that were not considered “appropriate” for discussion at the time such as breast cancer or epilepsy. Additionally, Marcus Welby, M.D. tackled serious issues, in particular the stigma surrounding homosexuality – a topic which had largely been ignored by television until then.
1971-1976 All In The Family
On the surface, All in the Family seems like another family sitcom, this one about a middle class family living in Queens, New York. But All in the Family did a lot more than just deliver a few funny jokes. The show was groundbreaking in how it used the sitcom format to tackle serious social issues. While other shows had talked about racism and bigotry, All in the Family was the first to show a normal family handling these dilemmas.
1976-1977 Happy Days
Created by Garry Marshall, who also directed Pretty Women and The Princess Bride films, Happy Days’ 255 half hour sitcom episodes went down in history as being some of the most important of the 1970s. The show starred Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham and Henry Winkler as his friend, “cool guy” Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli. Fonzie went on to be one of the most merchandisable characters in television history – his popularity so groundbreaking that it changed how studios viewed television’s potential.
1977-1979 Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off series of the popular sitcom Happy Days and followed the lives of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams). In Happy Days the two women had been associates of Fonzie and was set in roughly the same time period. By the show’s third season it was already the most watched show in the United States and went on to win two Golden Globe Awards along with a Primetime Emmy Award in 1979.
1979-1980 60 Minutes
It seems safe to say that 60 Minutes completely changed how Americans viewed news forever. Unlike news outlets which had come before, 60 Minutes focused on a reporter-styled investigative journalism. Additionally, the series created a feeling of intimacy with the journalists by only showing one on screen at a single time rather than having a panel speaking to each other. 60 Minutes also took the responsibility of undertaking its own investigative journalism, generating unique and interesting stories not seen elsewhere.
Dallas was a primetime soap opera premiering on CBS. The series was about a wealthy and feuding Texas family who were the owners of the Texas Ewing Oil Company and the Southfork Cattle Ranch. The series was intended to be a conceptual crossover and blend of three series: Bonanza (a wealthy Western family man and his three sons), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (rival brothers and their scheming wives), and Romeo and Juliet (lovers whose families are sworn enemies).
1982-1983 60 Minutes
For several years Dallas and 60 Minutes would bounce back and forth as being the highest Nielsen rated show on television. While both have been critically acclaimed, to this day, 60 Minutes holds the record of being the longest aired show in primetime. Its influence was so great, that it created numerous international spin offs in countries like Germany, Brazil, and Thailand. It has also helped push the careers of many renowned journalists such as Katie Couric and Charlie Rose.
Dallas was more than just an entertaining series for American audiences – its legacy goes much deeper than that. In fact, the television show is attributed to the downfall of the communist regime in Romania. As unbelievable as it sounds, the president of Romania at the time allowed the series to be aired in his country during his reign. The belief that it would be anti-capitalistic was unfounded, Romanians were angered at the wealth disparity, hastening the end of communism there.
As Dallas soared in the ratings, television channel ABC knew it had to do something to narrow the ever widening gap. As a result, the concept of Dynasty was born. Similar to Dallas, Dynasty was about the Carringtons, a wealthy family living in Denver, Colorado who business involved, that’s right, oil. ABC’s investment paid off, be 1985 Dynasty had become the number one rated show in the United States, pushing Dallas out of the way before being cancelled in 1989.
1985-1990 The Cosby Show
While sadly the legacy of The Cosby Show has arguably been tarnished, when it came out in 1984 it was a groundbreaking sitcom. It was the first number one Nielsen rated show to feature an African American family as its main cast. In addition, critics considered it to be one of the most important television shows of the 20th century, having “revived the sitcom genre” almost single handedly, and naming the main character Cliff Huxtable as “television’s number one dad.”
Considered as one of the most popular television shows of all time during its airing, Cheers was named after the bar in which the show took place. The sitcom’s mood, humor, and atmosphere were epitomised by its catchphrase, “where everyone knows your name.” During its run from September 1982 to May 1993, Cheers was nominated for a record 117 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series for every season it aired, and took home 28 Emmys during its syndication.
1991-1994 60 Minutes
The early 90s was a time of tremendous upheaval for the US and the world. It marked the end of the Cold War and the First Gulf War – the first war America had entered since Vietnam. As a result, Americans were hooked to their television sets – and who better to deliver the news than one of the highest rated programs in television history? With a team of outstanding reporters, 60 Minutes was the number one show for another 3 years.
As an up and coming, although still popular, comedian Jerry Seinfeld was presented with a tremendous opportunity by NBC to create his very own sitcom. Seinfeld immediately reached out to his friend and fellow comedian, Larry David, to help him. Larry David agreed, and together the two wrote what is widely considered by many to be one of the funniest shows of the 90s. As a side note, even E! named the series the “Number 1 reason the ’90s ruled.”
ER (emergency room) is a medical drama created by author and director Michael Crichton, the same man who wrote the books that inspired the Jurassic Park series, and filmed the original Westworld movie which came out in 1973. ER follows both the personal and professional lives of a group of medical professionals working in the fictionalised General County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Aside from Grey’s Anatomy, ER takes the cake as the longest running medical primetime drama in television history.
When describing the series Seinfeld, many consider it to be a “television show about nothing.” This is no accident, when writing the show Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote about the mundane and monotonies of daily life, creating a show that viewers related to on a personal level. The genius of the writing cannot be understated, in 2013, 15 years after the show ended, the Writers Guild of America voted it as the Second Best Written Show in TV History.
For five years, ER had battled against Seinfeld for that number one spot on the Nielsen ratings list. Once Seinfeld ended at number one, it left the door wide open for ER to become the most popular show in the United States – an opportunity that it took advantage of. Season five pulled over 25 million viewers putting it back on top, although this would be the last time that ER was television king with subsequent seasons bringing steadily lower viewership.
1999-2000 Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
When Who Wants To Be A Millionaire first aired in 1999 it was initially just a two week special hosted by Regis Philbin. That special was so popular that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire became the most syndicated program of the year 1999. It was the first game show in television history to offer one million dollars as its main prize, a move which seemed to boost its ratings and would be copied by subsequent game and reality shows.
When the first season of Survivor aired in 2000 it attracted over 15 million people who watched contestants compete to outlast each other in a desolate location. By season two that number had nearly tripled to 45 million people making Survivor the most popular television show of the year. Considered the leader of reality TV, Survivor became the first reality game show that was profitable on broadcast television, and with it soon followed numerous shows trying to emulate its success.
When first being pitched to NBC, Friends wasn’t initially called Friends by its writers and creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman. The show went through several rewrites and name changes, like Six To One and Friends Like Us, before eventually settling on the name Friends. The series would go on to be one of the most popular shows on television during its airing – even today it is still one of the most streamed series on the streaming service site Netflix.
2002-2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Running from October 2000 to September 2015, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as CSI and CSI: Las Vegas) was the first procedural forensic series to reach such extraordinary television heights, and would certainly not be the last. CSI inspired three spin-off series along with a series of novels, multiple video games, and even an exhibition at the Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Worldwide, the series was awarded the International Television Audience Award by Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo.
2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010 American Idol – Tuesday
Created by entertainer and entrepreneur Simon Fuller, American Idol was based on Fuller’s other project, Pop Idol, which was popular in Britain. As popular as Pop Idol was, American Idol would eclipse it in scope and audience. For an unprecedented eight years, American Idol would top the ratings charts either on its Tuesday night performance nights or the Wednesday night results nights when the judges would present the audience’s votes. Idol’s success has been described as “unparalleled in television history.”
2006-2007, 2008-2009, 2010-2011 American Idol – Wednesday
American Idol wasn’t just a competitive talent show, for many of the most successful stars in the world it was their springboard to success. American Idol’s running resulted in 345 Billboard chart toppers and has given the world pop stars like Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, and many more. For critics, its success only spawned debate of what was more enticing about the show – the entertainment, or the payoff from winning.
2011-2012 Sunday Night Football[/post_page_title]
Since 1987 ESPN had hosted Sunday Night Football and NBC had been airing the American Football League (AFL) since 1965 until 1998. 2006 brought about a new change to the NFL viewing schedule, starting then NBC took over the rights to Sunday Night Football while ESPN began hosting Monday Night Football instead. It wasn’t until the 2011-2012 season that NBC Sunday Night Football finally broke American Idol’s streak and shot to the number one spot on the Nielsen rating system.
Focusing on the trials and tribulations of Special Agents Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Caitlin Todd, and Anthony DiNozzo of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS is a police procedural show. In real life as in the series, the NCIS is the law enforcement, and counterintelligence arm of the United States Department of the Navy. While the series does have many elements based in reality, there are still many “creative liberties” taken by the writers for the benefit of a wider audience.
2013-2015 Sunday Night Football
After having taken a backseat to NCIS the season prior, NBC Sunday Night Football was back with a vengeance. One of its biggest pulls was the incorporation of its sister company’s channel, Universo’s Spanish language broadcast. That broadcast brought in a massive new audience as NBC began providing a live Spanish language feed during all Sunday night NFL games. In addition, NBC began airing Sunday Night Football at 7pm eastern time to provide pre game analysis prior to each match.
It’s hard to imagine a show that could possibly compete with something as culturally significant as Sunday Night Football, but with a combination of suspenseful drama, edge of your seat thrills, and interspersed with some humor, NCIS manages to pull it off. Originally created as a spin-off of JAG, the show creators realised the potential that NCIS could have on its own and changed its opening title and filmmaking style in order to allow it to reach its fullest potential.
2016-2018 The Big Bang Theory
Premiering 2007 and wrapping up in 2019, The Big Bang Theory ran for over 12 seasons and 279 episodes. After its initial reception, which many have described as being more or less “lukewarm,” the series received relatively high ratings and ended with a number one spot on the Nielsen ratings. In addition to ratings, The Big Bang Theory received numerous awards and nominations including the Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series four years in a row from 2011 to 2014.
2018-2019 Sunday Night Football[/post_page_title]
It’s definitely no surprise that NBC’s Sunday Night Football can’t stay away from the top. For many Sunday’s activities are synonymous with football and when picturing the games it’s easy to imagine the rush of adrenaline, the stadium lights, and the roar of a crowd eager for more. One secret to NBC’s success is that they were the first network to approve attaching microphones to the players, allowing audiences to hear the action on the ground as it was happening.
The fact of the matter is that America loves NCIS and for the cast of the show that means that life will never be the same. David McCallum, who plays Donald “Ducky” Mallard, says when he gets on airplanes, “I get smiles and nods and somebody says, ‘Hi, Ducky. Nice to see you.’” For Mark Harmon, who plays special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, it’s the same, “It’s fun to go out there. It’s hard to walk through an airport now.”