The Andy Griffith Show and M*A*S*H*: Which Was More Popular?

by Matthew Wilson
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In this battle of the TV shows, “The Andy Griffith Show” goes head to head with the “M*A*S*H.” Both are beloved, but which one was more popular?

Mayberry certainly wins points for being the more scenic of the two. “The Andy Griffith Show” followed an apple-pie slice, Americana kind of town. It was charming for its humor and simplicity, showing a variety of colorful characters. Meanwhile, “M*A*S*H” was based on a novel called “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.” It followed a team of doctors during the Korean War. They often used humor to deal with the darkness of war. And sometimes it could get pretty dark.

Both shows entertained audiences for years. But one show was slightly more popular than the other. We’ll break it down based upon longevity and flow of cash.

‘M*A*S*H’ Had More Seasons Than ‘Andy Griffith Show’

Though it seems to exist on an infinity loop, “The Andy Griffith Show” only lasted eight seasons. And many agree, there are only really five seasons worth watching. (Those Don Knott-less seasons may be in color. But they certainly lost a bit of the show’s flavor.) Throughout its run, Mayberry remained one of the most popular destinations on network TV.

Meanwhile, “M*A*S*H” had longer legs and was as equally successful ratings rise. The Korean War show entertained audiences for 11 seasons. Like “Andy Griffith,” the show had cast members exit the show over the years. But “M*A*S*H” managed to push through its cast shake-ups easier.

But factoring in the spin-offs, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “Mayberry R.F.D,” there’s a total of 16 seasons in the Mayberry universe. The franchise could have additionally lasted much longer. But the “Rural Purge” killed the Mayberry franchise even though it was still popular.

Spin-offs wise, “M*A*S*H” still has Andy and the Gang beat. There were three spin-offs, bringing the total number of seasons in that universe up to 21. Of the shows, “Trapper John, M.D” was the most successful, lasting seven seasons.

The Korean War TV Show Also Made More Money

Both franchises also had a movie. Technically, “M*A*S*H” existed as a film before it was a TV show. Made on a budget of $3.6 million, the TV show earned $81.6 million. The film also was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director. It won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Meanwhile, “The Andy Griffith Show” got a sequel in a TV movie. While it never hit the big screen, “Return to Mayberry” was insanely popular. It became the most-watched TV film in 1986. The renewed adventures of Sheriff Andy drew in 21 million viewers.

But the final episode of “M*A*S*H” drew 106 million viewers when it aired. Overall, while both TV shows were and are still popular, “M*A*S*H” had a broader appeal.

Outsider.com