of America (USA)
|Country Number (34)||1972||SECOND WAVE|
Television Stations / Channels
After a slow start in August 1972, but not really kicking off until August 1978, the series has aired on a multitude of commercial, non-commercial, independent, network affiliated, cable and PBS stations (Current PBS member stations) in all but a few of the states.
From 1972 to 1981, the series was distributed by Time-Life Films/Television, the film and TV division of Time-Life Inc. From 1981, the distributor was Lionheart Television International Inc.
DOCTOR WHO IN THE USA
The USA was the 34th country to screen Doctor Who. It was the second in North America, after Canada.
PETER CUSHING Movies
The first of the two Peter Cushing Dalek movies screened on cinemas across the country in 1966 and 1967, with a re-release in 1986. The second film is not distributed, instead going straight to television in 1969.
The Seventies records a sale of "(13)" stories by 28 February 1977. This tally is for the first batch of Jon Pertwee stories sold from 1972.
The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(118)" stories (by 10 February 1987). This tally is made up of:
- 13 Jon Pertwee stories – per the 1977 list
- 41 Tom Baker stories
- 20 Peter Davison stories
- 11 Colin Baker stories
- 17 William Hartnell stories – back catalogue
- 5 Patrick Troughton stories - back catalogue
- 11 Jon Pertwee stories - back catalogue
The following introductory bullet-points are expanded on in the full Chronology of Doctor Who in the United States:
- 1965-1972: Failed attempts to sell Doctor Who to the US.
- 1972-1978: Jon Pertwee's first three seasons in color air sporadically.
- 1978: Tom Baker episodes begin airing, mainly, but not exclusively, on PBS stations.
- 1982: Peter Davison premieres. Fan clubs and conventions are plentiful.
- 23 November 1983: Numerous stations air The Five Doctors, two days before BBC1.
- 1985: Colin Baker premieres, as do William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.
- 1986-1988: The Doctor Who USA Tour visits 180+ cities.
- 1988: Sylvester McCoy premieres.
- 1992: Most PBS stations drop Doctor Who. The Sci-Fi Channel picks up the series.
- 1996: The TV movie fails to spark interest in a revival.
- 2006-2008: The NEW SERIES commences on Sci-Fi Channel.
- 2009 to 2022: The NEW SERIES shifts to BBC America.
- 2011 to 2022: Only half a dozen PBS stations are still airing some of the Classic series, but a much wider choice is available 24/7 via Online and streaming platforms...
- 2023 to date: Disney+ acquires exclusive rights to stream all New Series episodes. Only three US broadcasters still regularly air classic series episodes.
|United States Chronology|
|1963-1969 | 1971-1972 | 1973-1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991-2020s|
|Related articles||List of conventions | List of fan clubs | References to the USA in Doctor Who | Doctor Who USA Bus Tour | USA Bus Tour stops | Documentaries and specials | TV Guide | Saturday, March 12, 1988 | First airings by episode | Search by episode title or date | United States by the numbers | Chicago chronology | Time-Life Television|
First station to screen each Doctor
As best that can be determined, the viewers in the following states were the first to see each of the first seven Doctors:
|Jon Pertwee||WPHL||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||21 August 1972|
|Tom Baker||WTEV||Massachusetts||28 August 1978|
|Peter Davison||WTTW||Chicago, Illinois||24 April 1983|
|Jon Pertwee (partial repackage)||WTTW||Chicago, Illinois||12 June 1983|
|Jon Pertwee (full repackage)||WILL||Urbana, Illinois||4 December 1984|
|William Hartnell||NJN||New Jersey||7 September 1985|
|Colin Baker||NJN||New Jersey||26 October 1985|
|Patrick Troughton||NJN||New Jersey||1 February 1986|
|Sylvester McCoy||NJN||New Jersey||9 January 1988|
Markets Across the USA
This table charts the sales of Doctor Who, initially by Time-Life Television, and later Lionheart. (NOTE: The figures are from published reports, and therefore may contain a small degree of hyperbole...)
Sales reached a peak of 200+ by late 1987, but less than a year later, as the syndication prices increased, sales began to drop alarmingly.
|1972-1977||16||13 Jon Pertwee stories only|
|1978 (Aug)||17||First 23 Tom Baker stories only|
|1978 (Sept)||over 50||Still only first 23 Tom Baker stories|
|1979 (end)||65||Still only first 23 Tom Baker stories|
|1980 (mid)||97||Still only first 23 Tom Baker stories|
|1981 (May)||Lionheart takes over distribution, all 41 Baker stories on offer|
|1982 (end)||9 million viewers|
|1983 (Nov)||80 station link up for The Five Doctors|
|1984 (Jan)||112||9.5 million viewers (noted in TV Guide)|
|1985 (May)||146||70% of population (b/w eps now on offer)|
|1987 (Feb)||185+||during Doctor Who USA Tour promotion|
|1987 (Sep)||200+ (*)||74% of population|
|1988||sales dropping / Sylvester McCoy stories are over-priced|
|1992||Lionheart gives distribution rights to SCI-FI Channel|
|1998||fewer than 12|
|2010s||no more than 10||few terrestrial stations, more online and streaming|
|2020s||no less than 3||only a handful of terrestrial stations remain, number of streaming platforms reduce|
- (*) In view of the falling sales from 1988, we suspect 200 is but a rounding-up of the "over 185" cited in promotional material that was released in early 1987 -- see United States--1987.
- BroaDWcast has so far identified just over 140 of the 185+ stations (half of which also have an Airdates Table), so we still have a bit of a way to go!
- Note: In arriving at our total of over 140, we've counted each of the larger statewide Networks - such as Iowa's IPTV, Maine's MPBN, and Wisconsin's public network - as "one". In arriving at their figure of 185, did Lionheart also count each Network as "one market", or did they include the individual stations within each Network? (This distinction is quite important, especially in view of the fact that the travelling Doctor Who USA Tour exhibition was to have visited all the major markets between 1986 and 1988.) If the latter, our total would increase significantly, putting us much closer to the 160+ mark. Or maybe we've already identified all 185, but haven't realised it..?
(Information in the chronology is taken from reports in DWM, DWB, Celestial Toyroom, Data Extract, Fantasy Image, Starlog, Doctor Who Marvel (US), Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fantastic Films, Fangoria, Enterprise Incidents, Enlightenment, and various online sites.)
|William Hartnell | Patrick Troughton | Jon Pertwee | Tom Baker | Peter Davison | Colin Baker | Sylvester McCoy | Paul McGann|
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This category has the following 53 subcategories, out of 53 total.
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