Discover the most popular TV show the year you were born

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1977: Laverne & Shirley

Speaking of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley was one of the popular series’ spin-offs back in 1976. The series ran on ABC until 1983, and followed the lives of Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney (who were acquaintances of The Fonz on Happy Days). The two friends were roommates and both worked as bottle-cappers at a brewery in 1950s Milwaukee.

By the third season of Laverne & Shirley, it had quickly climbed up the charts. It became the most-watched American television show by season 3. During its eight-season run, the show earned four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actress noms for both Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, and a Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical nod in 1977 and 1978.

Unfortunately for the fictional friends, the show moved from its Tuesday night slot to Thursdays, against shows like The Waltons and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and viewership dropped. It was then moved to Mondays, but ratings were still struggling, so it was finally moved back to Tuesdays after it’s parent-show Happy Days.

Laverne & Shirley, like so many other shows that suffer time slot changes, never regained its virtuous top spot in the ratings, and for the last few seasons, it did not even crack the top 15 spots on the Nielsen charts. The show was canceled in 1983.