Commentary

Republicans And Democrats Divided On TV Favorites

Everyone knows PBS is run by a bunch of anti-establishment liberals. The top programmers there would rather spend their days occupying Wall Street or picketing Glenn Beck’s studio. So much so, they'd give up the chance to slide more subliminal messages about raising taxes into episodes of “American Experience.” 

Yet, they don't have the luxury of giving up their huge government-supplied salaries. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to keep their kids in private schools or trick-out their Volvos.

Yet, even as some right-wingers would cut all federal funding for the Pretentious Broadcasting System, they seem to be watching it.

According to a list of leading shows among conservative Republicans, three of the top 25 are on PBS: “This Old House,” “New Yankee Workshop” and “Antiques Roadshow.”

On the liberal Democrats' list? Just two – “Masterpiece” and “American Masters.”

The would-be PBS-GOP hypocrisy may be the most unexpected finding of the new research from Experian Simmons, which lists entertainment shows with the highest concentration of viewers, who self-identify as liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

Otherwise, much of the data meets with conventional wisdom. Jay Leno is a red-state favorite, building his leading ratings in the heartland? Yup, he’s 17th among the conservative Republicans.     

David Letterman is a creature of leftie Manhattan? He comes in at 12th among the liberal Dems. Conan O’Brien, a former creature of leftie Manhattan now in equally liberal L.A., also makes their top 25.

No shocker here: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are the top-two shows with the left-leaning viewers. And “The 700 Club,” from long-time Christian conservative Pat Robertson, is third among the GOPers (behind just the Speed network’s “Barrett-Jackson Auction” and “This Old House).”

It’s too bad for struggling NBC that liberal Democrats don’t make up the full Nielsen panel. Five of the network’s scripted shows – including “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation” -- make the liberals’ top 25. Not one cracks the conservative Republican rankings.

Democrats may like to laugh more. There is not one sitcom among the Republican top 25, while the comedies are all over the Democrats’ favorites. One favorite among the lefties is “Modern Family,” which features a gay couple.

“Saturday Night Live,” which has had a field day poking fun at the Republican presidential candidates this fall, is number 18 among liberals and a no-show among the GOP. (The survey was actually conducted before, from July 2010-September 2011, with about 2,750 Dems and 4,350 right-leaners participating.)

Those who say Republicans have more of a preference for guns than Dems might take evidence in History channel’s “Top Shot,” a reality-competition show with shooting contests, cracking the GOP top five.

Maybe also telling about GOP leanings, “Weeds,” featuring a pot-dealer as the lead, fairs poorly among conservative Republicans as the show with the lowest concentration of them on TV. GOPers also don’t like “Divorce Court,” but heavily favor “The Bachelor,” where many of the wining couples have found their romances crater fast. They also don’t care for “Jersey Shore,” with its ample casual sex.

So, using favorite TV shows as a guide, is there any hope that the divided, gridlocked, partisan America will find more common ground? Not much.

None of the top-25 shows among liberal Democrats are shared among conservative Republicans.

1 comment about "Republicans And Democrats Divided On TV Favorites".
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  1. T Y from Freelance Producer / DP, December 12, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.

    Well, this column had a disappointing slant starting with the opening paragraph, David. Please tell me you were just trying to be funny from the get-go.

    “Huge government salaries,” please. Research before spouting talking points please. Compare average education levels against private sector as well as tasks performed. PBS execs would rather protest and picket? How about more accurately, they read and educate themselves and others?

    Frankly, the most telling data point is that among “righties” Pat Robertson is #3!!! He’s not a conservative; he is a hate-spewing bigot who is bordering on senility. Divorce is okey-dokey with him when it suits him. Hurricanes are used by his god as weapons. Sheesh.

    Even the very liberal Bill Moyers seems to limit himself to fact-based analysis even if it is unpopular with the very conservative. As does Jon Stewart. Now if only Faux News would consider utilizing facts in their “coverage.”

    This could have been an interesting topic and perhaps a side-by-side chart would have made for great reading and a few laughs. Please, if you’re going to poke at one party, try to poke at the other one in a comparable and proportional fashion.

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