Back to IndieWire

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.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged ,