From ABC's "V."

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By Jason Apuzzo. This is actually a rather weird piece from THR. It’s purpose is to show that Republican audiences are crucial to success in getting good TV ratings. That’s fine – and heartening, in a way – but I think the article’s author, James Hibberd, makes the argument (which isn’t exactly a major revelation in the era of Fox News or 24) in a strange and somewhat incomprehensible way. His argument breaks down to this: Republicans have a tendency to watch most of the same stuff everybody else is watching already – while avoiding smaller, quirkier shows that survive off more liberal audiences. That’s not too surprising, frankly.

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Basically, when you look at the numbers what it comes down to is this: Democrats watch more TV, but only when Republicans jump on board does a show become a hit. Is that encouraging? I suppose so – if you’re content with today’s ‘hit’ TV series, most of which come across to me as lame, at best. If the idea here is that Hollywood may now ’sit up and start to take notice’ of its newfound Republican audiences, please wake me when that happens. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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I think Hibberd is over-thinking/analyzing this stuff, in essence. In any case, here are the shows below, with the numbers breakdown. Feel free to comment on all this, including your own show preferences.

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It’s a pity so many Republicans watch a show called Lie to Me. At the same time, it’s funny that so many Democrats in the Obama era would watch Breaking Bad.

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I guess this means I’m the only guy watching Hellcats.

[UPDATE: This post has been substantially revised.]

Posted on November 10th, 2010 at 10:06am.

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22 Responses to “The Hollywood Reporter on Shows Appealing to Republicans vs. Democrats”

  1. shinsnake says:

    Well, I guess much like my votes, I side with the Republicans, but only because there aren’t more choices. The only show on the Democrat list that I watch is Friday Night Lights, while I watch The Amazing Race, Survivor, and I used to watch American Idol (won’t watch it with Simon gone) from the Republican list. It also looks like television is much more popular with Democrats than it is with Republicans, given that each score is as much as 20 points higher for the Democrats than Republicans, with the exception of Glenn Beck.

    To me, the real thing to take away from this is just how little quality television there is.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      I hear you. The worse TV gets, the more popular it is with Democrats is a very plausible reading of all this.

  2. JohnJ says:

    The explanation for this is simple: Hollywood offers fewer Republican-friendly choices. There are so many liberal-friendly shows that it spreads the liberal “vote” out. And “Republican-friendly” really only means “not openly and repeatedly insulting Republicans.” It’s no surprise that there are so few of those shows that Republicans all tend to watch the few that exist.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      Yes, this is why Fox News has such high ratings vs. the other cable news outlets: they get to hog the entire conservative audience. I don’t actually think it’s because everyone is so in love with the Fox News hosts …

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  4. Patricia says:

    I like Amazing Race and 30 Rock–must mean I’m an Independent!

    Blue Bloods is catching my eye, and the scripts are improving. This Irish Catholic family even prays together, without a hint of irony!

    They are winning Friday nights against Stossell-free 20/20.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      If they’re an Irish Catholic family, I’m hoping they feature a lot of brawling! Seen a lot of that over the years …

      • Patricia says:

        There’s lots of glaring at the dinner table, so I think they’re working their way up to it. :)

  5. blackhawk12151 says:

    Well, I watch more of the shows on the Democrat list (Dexter and Mad Men being two of my favorites). You are right, however, the piece from THR is weird. Seems like he could have made the point in a much less convoluted way.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      I’m glad he thinks Republicans help viewership, but I don’t think these numbers are going to change anybody’s mind about anything in Hollywood.

  6. Andrew Winkless says:

    Not sure this is the place to raise the subject, but since you mentioned 24, I am amazed that non liberals are able to watch it for more than a season or so. While the idea of making a counter terrorist unit protecting the United States seems conservative on its face, the actual world setting is a liberal theme park. Villains are just short of always ultimately a white guy in a suit, usually connected with the oil or defense industries. Presidents who are white and male are evil, without exception, right up to staging WMD attacks so as to justify stealing oil reserves. Government agents torture so routinely it’s never even discussed, and the agency is riddled with corruption and moles. Maybe the effect is diluted when you watch it once a week rather than in surges by dvd…

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      I agree with you completely. What I was referring to was the early appeal the show had with conservative audiences, before the show began to take a radically different direction. That new direction – and what caused it – are a separate story that’s probably best left for another day.

  7. Nicol D says:

    What is amazing is just how craptacular the bulk of shows are on both lists. Damages on the left is easily the best of their lot and a very good show. On the right I like the new V.

    What amazes me though is how many “left wing” shows Republicans watch while they ignore shows that are under the radar but actually have something to offer them. Republicans watch Modern Family…yeah, that’s a show with their values!

    On the other hand;

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia does a great job at being a live action South Park that satirizes both left and right. At its best it is brilliant with true comedic performances that put to shame anything on 30 Rock,

    Californication is raunchy, yes, but actually has a bit of a moral with Duchovny’s libertarian character having to realize the depths he is going to are not productive. And not at all PC. He will take shots at left wing targets from time to time.

    Burn Notice is easily the most consistently entertaining program on TV that has no discernable poltical agenda. Just pure old fashioned entertainment with great chemistry by all leads.

    As for Hellcats…sorry, I tried to watch it. Wanted to love it. But alas, the simple, vapid, dumbass evil Christian stereotypes just grated on me and I gave up. I can handle an episode or two of that, but after watching a few it seemed like a recurring theme. The lead actress has a great body but she also has a hardness to her that is offputting.

    Looking forward to the revamped V.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      I can’t argue with any of your points – even the one about Hellcats. [Sigh.] I actually checked out of that show a while ago, myself. And thanks for your thoughts on those other shows – I’m too busy to catch any of them, so it’s interesting to learn all that. Also thanks for the wonderful use of the term ‘craptacular.’ :)

      It troubles me that conservatives don’t support or even sample so many shows or films they might actually like. It makes me wonder whether there’s something psychological going on there.

  8. kishke says:

    I’m surprised more conservatives don’t watch Mad Men. There’s a lot there to like (and dislike, of course, but still).

  9. ScottDS says:

    I think it would be wise not to read too much into these lists and I’m glad you’re not. A good TV show is a good TV show and just because something is “mainstream” doesn’t mean it’s good. At the end of the day, the true test isn’t money or awards, it’s time. And at the end of the day, most of us like the same shows.

    I’m kinda surprised to see Desperate Housewives on the red list, though I guess that spits in the face of the “family values/Parents Television Council” types (which suits me fine). On the other hand, the Dems aren’t doing themselves any favors with Kourtney and Khloe on the blue list!

    As for some of the others that I actually watch, I’m disheartened that Chuck is missing off the red list. Community and Parks and Recreation are more or less apolitical (insofar as anyone can watch them and not feel insulted). 30 Rock does the occasional joke at the right’s expense but I would hesitate to label the show itself “liberal.” (I’m a fan so maybe I’m biased.) Slate did an article about the subtle conservative themes that pop up in the show now and then.

    I’m over three-camera sitcoms so I can only see Two and Half Men on the red list and shrug. :-)

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      There used to be shows you could be excited about. There aren’t too many like that on that list above – regardless of what the ‘politics’ of these shows are supposed to be …

      • Patricia says:

        In the last five years, I was excited about the first season of Lost and first season of Damages. That’s about it.

  10. RuSource says:

    The ‘V’ poster over the Kremlin/Red Square borrows heavily from the posters for Night Watch. I’m still wondering if Bekmanbetov can do a third one with Anton Gorodetsky’s spawn all grown up or if he completely tied up the novel trilogy in two films.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      That’s an interesting insight. I need to find out more about Bekmanbetov – he’s everywhere right now.

  11. John says:

    The only show on either list I watch and enjoy is Breaking Bad, Walt’s character is appealing because he has such inner strength and brings the values of hard work and competence to crime.

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