Do You Watch America’s Most Popular Shows?

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They say you never appreciate lots of things till they’re gone. And while this applies to so much (right off the top of my head I can cite one’s twenties, down parkas, teenaged metabolisms, in-laws, gym memberships, cool platform shoes, enforced naps, easy air travel, etc.) I basically wish I’d paid more attention in school. I wish I’d listened once in a while when teachers explained what was important, and read the books they told me to read in the first place. So much more would make sense now! It wasn’t until I started to tutor high-school kids years later that I began to read those books and notice that some of them were pretty good. Who knew? (Essentially I got paid to repeat the eleventh grade at age 32.) Bottom line, nowadays whenever I’m presented with lists and facts I try to pay more attention, especially when they shed light on human behavior. I am a total sucker for that stuff.  So Entertainment Weekly’s got an article all about which TV shows are the most popular – and among which age group – which is completely fascinating to me because I would have guessed some, but not all, the results.

Do you ever wonder why certain TV shows are hits, only you haven’t the faintest idea why? Do you ever watch something on TV and say, no way will anyone think this is a good idea?

Let’s talk about “Men”. Well not men exactly, but the kinds of things men watch on TV. We always talk about how this movie or that movie will do based upon its audience. And even if you won’t like it or your spouse or siblings won’t, chances are someone you know will. In fact, it’s hard to account for taste these days, but if you have some idea about your audience, it’s not so hard at all. It’s actually a huge  science, and with what they know now, you can make a movie and be reasonably confident that 57,506 screaming twelve-year-old girls will make it a hit. So they took research and listed what shows are most popular among various age groups. The result? Let’s just say that Charlie Sheen is going to disappoint a lot more people than even I imagined.  It probably comes as zero surprise to anyone that American Idol is the most popular show on earth. On Wednesdays it looks like over 25 million people tune in (would you be nervous doing anything in front of 25 million people? Try singing. That’s gotta be awful. Now we have some idea about what Anne Hathaway and James Franco must have been feeling). According to the research, if you’re over 50, your favorite shows right now are: DWTS, NCIS, NCIS:LA and The Mentalist. Okay, that doesn’t surprise me too much.

But, what did surprise me was when you look at men’s nighttime TV favorites and you break down their ages. In the article they looked at men 18-34 and then 18-49 – which are two super-important age groups (this is cat-nip to advertisers. For example, it’s these guys who keep inane shows like S@@#$%^ My Dad Says on the air.)  But here’s the interesting thing – while both mens’ groups liked Idol, The Simpsons, and Family Guy the same, they split their vote on another two shows. Care to guess which ones? The younger ones  (under 49) liked The Office most, while the older ones (up til 49) don’t love The Office most – they love Two and A Half Men.

What’s that about? Howcome all those guys are totally in sync on three shows but suddenly they say nope, I’m changing the channel here. Sure, these are ‘statistics’, but they tell us a lot about what makes people tick. So when you’re walking around today and you see a few random guys who look over 35 but less than 50, ask them which they like better: Two and a Half Men or The Office.  You might be surprised at what they say.

Today’s poll:

Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these shows recently voted most popular among 12 to 34 year olds is your favorite:

1)   American Idol

2)   Family Guy

3)   Glee

4)   The Simpsons

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