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Classic Spy Television Hits: 5 TV Shows That Had Highest Ratings

By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 04:18 PM

Spy shows have been popular since the early days of television. These shows have ranged from serious endeavors like "I Spy" to the buffoonery of "Get Smart." Most lie somewhere in between, with a mix of serious and comedic elements.

Here are some classic television spy shows that earned the highest ratings:

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1. "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." was a spy/action show that ran on NBC for four seasons beginning in 1964. It featured two suave agents, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) who fought for peace against foreign agents, especially those from THRUSH. "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." placed No. 13 in the Nielson ratings in the 1965-66 season.

2. "I Spy"
NBC's "I Spy" was a spy/adventure show that ran for three seasons beginning in 1965. Bill Cosby broke barriers as the first black leading man on an American TV show, portraying a spy, tennis coach, linguist, and Rhodes scholar. Robert Culp was his fellow spy/tennis player. "I Spy" ranked No. 29 in the Top 30 in the Nielsen ratings in the 1966-67 season.

3. "Get Smart"
"Get Smart" was a comedy about spies at a time when people were legitimately nervous about secret agents. It pitted bumbling CONTROL Agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) against KAOS, whose agents had little to fear. "Get Smart" ran for four seasons on NBC until it was cancelled in 1969. CBS picked the show up for it fifth and final season. "Get Smart" ranked 12th in the Nielsen ratings its first year and 22nd the next season.

4. "Mission: Impossible"
"Mission: Impossible" was a serious spy show and one of the longest running at seven seasons. A team of government spies were offered "impossible missions" (should they decide to accept them). Each spy had a specialization, from strongman to alluring lady to a master of disguise who could make masks with an incredible likeness to his prey. "Mission Impossible debuted on CBS in 1966 and ranked No. 11 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1968-69 season.

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5. "The Six Million Dollar Man"
"The Six Million Dollar Man" was a spy and action/adventure TV show that ran on ABC beginning in 1974. Steve Austin, an astronaut and Air Force pilot, almost died in a crash. He was outfitted with numerous bionic body parts worth $6 million and, in return, worked for the government dealing with spies, aliens, and crazy scientists. During its five-season run, "The Six Million Dollar Man" ranked seventh, ninth, and 11th in three seasons.

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Spy shows have been popular since the early days of television. These shows have ranged from serious endeavors like "I Spy" to the buffoonery of "Get Smart." Most lie somewhere in between, with a mix of serious and comedic elements.
classic, spy, tv, hits, ratings
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2015-18-18
Friday, 18 Dec 2015 04:18 PM
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