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What Are You Watching? Top 10 Primetime Shows Among Black Viewers

What Are You Watching? Top 10 Primetime Shows Among Black Viewers

The chart below comes courtesy of Nielsen, which, as it states, shows ratings as of a week ago, October 27, 2013

What I found most intriguing are the numbers for ABC’s Scandal. While it’s the number 1 primetime series watched by black audiences in this country (which really shouldn’t be a surprise), the figure you see on the table below, 3.46 million viewers, represents the number of black people the show drew the week that the chart reflects. What I thought was worth pointing out is that, this season, Scandal has been drawing over 9 million viewers per episode, enjoying its best ratings ever. This means that, less than half of Scandal’s Thursday-nights-at-10pm audience comprises of black viewers; which in turn suggests that, it’s clearly a cross-over hit, as over 61% of the show’s viewership are non-black people – between 5 and 6 million.

Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise, but I thought it was worth highlighting on this blog, given how much the series is discussed, and appreciated by its many fans. And I love looking at hard numbers instead of speculating.

It’s also worth noting that, as the chart shows, more than double the number of black people who watch Shonda Rhimes’ other drama series on ABC (Grey’s Anatomy) watch Scandal. And a number of programs on this list, can also be found on the overall top 10 list of primetime TV shows (non-race-specific), like Persons Of InterestDancing With The Stars and NCIS: Los Angeles.

And finally, while black people apparently love NCIS: Los Angeles (I suppose because LL Cool J is one its stars?), the original series – NCIS – which isn’t watched as much by black audiences, was the most-watched TV series overall (regardless of race) during the week that this table reflects. NCIS: Los Angeles was the #5 overall most-watched series that week, although black people make up about 10% of that show’s audience – according to Nielsen; Certainly nowhere near the almost 40% who make up Scandal’s total audience every week.

I haven’t been keeping up with Nielsen’s weekly breakdowns like this one, but I will from here on. I find it all very interesting, informative and telling.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged ,



the only show i watch on this list Scandal.. Where is Arrow and Sleepy Hollow


This list looks like what white guy thinks black people would watch


I don't watch any of these programs…


I watch Scandal, Brooklyn 99, Mindy Project, Sleepy Hollow.

Does anybody else watch Masters of Sex? I just got hooked.


American Horror Story
Sleepy hollow
Mindy project
Brooklyn 99 …. testing it out
My list grows or decreases as the winter and spring seasons change


With the invention of on-demand and online streaming, who carves out a time to watch primetime TV? I'm going to answer my top 3 or 4 that I watch that usually come on during prime time….. lol

Life After
Celebrity Crime
Sleepy Hollow

I watch all of these online. I rarely catch the first run. Busy living.

Mark Dunston

Steven Biko said "The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."


OH, and I forgot

The Good Wife
Devious Maids


I'll play along! … (not in any particular order)

Modern Family
Mad Men
Sleepy Hollow
Shark Tank (best competition show on television! and it's very educational too!)
The occasional NFL game if my team is playing

and… soon-to-be added: Almost Human


NFL/College Football, Person of Interest, Blacklist, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Agents of Shield, Arrow.


Hmmmmm. My top shows are #1 Sleepy Hollow, #2 The Walking Dead, #3 Scandal, and 4# American Horror Story. Those are all amazing shows and have black leads/prominent characters. Plus Sleepy Hollow is amazing because Tom Mison is sexy and so is Nicole Beharie.


I must not be black because I don't watch any of these shows. I watch Criminal Minds syndicated weekend episodes, but not first run episodes on CBS. My current rotation consists of:

Sleepy Hollow
Shark Tank
The Blacklist
Hostages (I'm hate watching this until completion.)
The Walking Dead

Coming Soon:
Almost Human

In the Spring I will add:
House of Cards Season 2
GoT Season 4
Sherlock Season 3
Orphan Black Season 2


I'm positive American Horror Story has gotten a significant boost in black viewers mainly due to the inclusion of Angela Bassett in a lead role this season. Not to mention Gabourey Sidibe as well!


Hasn't there been discussion in the past about how few African American households actually have Nielsen boxes? That may explain the surprise in some of the numbers.


None of them actually. That is not to knock any of those shows. I just don't watch them. I'm either watching something from Netflix (streaming and DVDs) or NBA league pass now that basketball season is back.


Shark Tank & Face Off, my main two.

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