Republican-friendly TV shows more likely to be hits

Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:27am EST
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - TV viewers who vote Republican and identify themselves as conservative are more likely than Democrats to love the biggest hits on TV.

Of the top 10 broadcast shows on TV in the spring, nine were ranked more favorably by viewers who identify themselves as Republican, according to data compiled by media-research company Experian Simmons. These include "NCIS," "The Big Bang Theory," "American Idol," and "Modern Family" -- that one with the gay couple.

Liberals appreciate many of the same shows, mind you. But their devotion typically is not quite as strong as right-wingers, and Dems are more likely to prefer modestly rated titles. Like "Mad Men."

The Emmy favorite has struggled to get a broad audience on AMC. It scores through the roof with Democrats (does anyone in Santa Monica or on Manhattan's Upper West Side not watch it?), but it has one of the weakest scores among Republicans. The same is true for FX's "Damages," Showtime's "Dexter," HBO's "Entourage" and AMC's "Breaking Bad."

And it's not as if Republicans have something against cable shows: The GOP has plenty of love for "White Collar," "Pawn Stars" and "American Chopper."

"The big shows with mass appeal tend to have above-average scores from Democrats and Republicans but with higher concentrations of Republicans," says John Fetto, senior marketing manager at Experian Simmons. "Looking at the Democrats side, I don't mean to make light of it, but they seem to like shows about damaged people. Those are the kind of shows Republicans just stay away from."

That also goes for the soft-rated, critically beloved "30 Rock." Its score is highly polarized in favor of Democrats. The only show on NBC's Thursday night comedy block that Republicans rate highly (slightly better than Democrats, even) is "The Office" ... which happens to be the one bona fide hit in the bunch.

To Hollywood, the data suggest a potentially disquieting idea: The TV industry is populated by liberals, but big-league success may require pleasing conservatives.   Continued...

<p>Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (2nd L) listen to his concession speech in Phoenix November 4, 2008. Cindy McCain is at left, Todd Palin at right, and vice-presidential running mate Gov. Sarah Palin stands next to McCain. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>