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

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

I like to do this once or twice every year, if only to track annually, for patterns, trends, and the like. I also like to do it during the start of a new TV season, and then again towards the end of the same season.

The chart below comes courtesy of Nielsen, which, as it states, shows ratings as of a week ago, April 212014

I should note that the season finale of ABC’s Scandal aired the prior week, which is why it’s not listed here. It would almost surely be #1 on the list otherwise – as it was when I last did this, at the start of the season, last fall.

Also, new entries which were not on the list 6 months ago, include The Blacklist on NBC. Apparently, the show has grown on a lot of you, since it debut. I watched the first 3 episodes, and wasn’t hooked, so I moved on. 

Resurrection on ABC is a new addition as well, but it was a mid-season replacement, premiering on March 9, 2014. So it wasn’t on the air last fall. The same goes for Black Box, also on ABC, which premiered on April 24. It was an instant hit, but I’d bet that the fact that it took over the 10pm, Thursday night slot usually occupied by Scandal, likely helped. The Scandal season finale aired the previous Thursday night, and it’s possible that the millions of viewers who typically tune in at that time to watch Scandal, did so, if only as a habit, and stuck with Black Box, even after they found out that it wasn’t Scandal. Also, it had the Grey’s Anatomy 9pm lead-in, which I’m sure helped.

And finally, Blue Bloods on CBS, which also wasn’t on the list 6 months ago, and has obviously attracted more than a few black folks since then. To be frank, I’d never heard of the series until now. If you’re a fan, what have I been missing?

The other shows on the list (Grey’s Anatomy, Person Of Interest, Dancing With The Stars, NCIS: Los Angeles etc) have been consistent black audience draws, although they often change the specific positions they occupy on the list. Although I did wonder whether black audiences would still tune in to Person Of Interest, given the uproar over Taraji P. Henson’s character’s sudden death (and exit from the show) last season. Clearly, all the screaming about no longer watching the show because of her departure, was just that – screaming.

It’s also worth noting that, if ABC orders to series the handful of new “black shows” it currently has in development (from Kevin Hart, Kenya Barris, Shonda Rhimes, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and two or three others), the network will likely be an even larger draw for black audiences next TV season, given that it already is, as you can see on the list below. 

So does this list reflect your viewing habits?

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Every Black sedentary person I know is talking about Scandal and basketball.


What about "Suits" and "Graceland"? I especially LOVE the former. Gina Torres and company ROCK!! And "The Good Wife"? Julianna Marguiles and company also ROCK!!!


What about non-network shows? Anecdotally, most of my Black friends and I watch Game of Thrones and True Blood (so I guess HBO heavy?), but almost none of my friends watch Girls or True Detective. People talk the most about Scandal though. Does anyone watch The Vikings on the History Channel?


So people what shows do you watch that you thought were more popular with people like you?

Miles Ellison

Black people are watching a lot of crap.


Person of Interest is ranked the #8 show with a 6.1 rating amongst black households. If you do a quick search of your own blog, you'll see that back in the Fall before Taraji's character was killed off, POI was ranked #4 (behind only Scandal and Football) with a 9.1 rating amongst black households. Clearly some people did more than screaming and actually have stopped watching.

Richard Vialet

Wow. I watch none of these shows…


Blacklist? Black box? Hahaa


Wow…the only show on that list that I watch is The Blacklist.

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