The decline in Saturday night's status for broadcast TV networks has been ongoing for four decades now, since the high point of CBS' "All in the Family," "M*A*S*H," Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett era.
But every year that goes by, the willingness to sacrifice what used to be prime air time to low-rated fare gets bolder.
Take this weekend. NBC is scheduled to show the Rangers-Flyers game at 8 p.m. Saturday. Not NBCSN -- NBC.
It will be the first prime-time, regular-season, indoor NHL game shown on NBC since the network acquired NHL rights in 2006 -- and might well be the first such game on a broadcast network in American television history.
(If you know of another, please let us know.)
That's good news for hockey fans, but NBC is certain to get a low rating for the night, likely at or slightly above one percent of U.S. homes.
A week from Saturday, NBC will premiere a new series of boxing shows, the sport's first appearance in prime time on the network since 1985.
UPDATE: Thanks to comment poster Stu Dolgon (below) and followers on Twitter, it appears NBC aired three prime-time games in the 1972-73 and '73-74 seasons, most recently Jan. 4, 1974, a Friday night game between the Bruins and Rangers.