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Nielsen’s First LGBTQ Ratings Report Is Here, and Gay Viewers Love ‘Game of Thrones’

Except for "RuPaul's Drag Race," it turns out same gender partner households watch the pretty much same shows everyone else does.


Nielsen has released its first ever ratings report for same gender households, ushering in a landmark shift in the way the industry views LGBTQ audiences. Nielsen announced the updates to its viewership tracking practices last fall, but today marks the first ratings report resulting from the change. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was the most popular cable series with same sex households, with “The Rachel Maddow Show” coming in a distant second.

In November of 2018, Nielsen announced it was working closely with GLAAD in order to identify same-sex partner households as part of a “mission to reflect important demographic characteristics.” “As the media marketplace continues to evolve, our clients are increasingly looking to better understand consumers of all types to effectively reach new and unique audiences,” said Nielsen VP Brian Fuhrer at the time, indicating that networks were asking for more detailed information.

“We will continue to invest in ways to ensure our world-class TV panel reflects the true diversity of the consumer landscape,” he added. “This enhancement will help both programmers and marketers gain LGBTQ audience insights and provide the industry with a better understanding of the compelling opportunity these consumers represent.”

For the week of April 8, the most watched shows on broadcast and cable were “Game of Thrones” and the NCAA men’s basketball championships, the same for same gender households. VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and its spinoff show “Untucked” had the highest concentration of LGBTQ viewers in the Nielsen sample, earning 16% of its audience from same gender partner homes.

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from these numbers is that for the most part, same sex partner household tastes align with those of the general viewing public’s, with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Untucked” being the only notable exceptions.

Listed below are the 10 most-watched primetime shows on broadcast and cable among same gender partner homes for the week of April 8, with overall viewership in parentheses. All numbers are live-plus-same-day.


1. NCAA Men’s Championship (CBS), 176,934 (19.72 million)
2. Survivor (CBS), 120,921 (7.6 million)
3. NCIS (CBS), 116,498 (11.82 million)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS), 96,273 (8.72 million)
5. Modern Family (ABC), 95,180 (4.81 million)
6. The Voice (Monday) (NBC), 95,130 (7.62 million)
7. American Idol (Sunday) (ABC), 94,696 (7.26 million)
8. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 84,223 (6.82 million)
9. The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC), 81,510 (7.32 million)
10. The Goldbergs (ABC), 79,655 (4.64 million)


1. Game of Thrones (HBO), 191,135 (11.76 million)
2. The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC), 66,071 (2.55 million)
3. Untucked (VH1), 65,782 (405,989)
4. RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1), 64,082 (402,516)
5. All In With Chris Hayes (MSNBC), 34,280 (1.57 million)
6. Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC), 33,344 (2.02 million)
7. Spring Baking Championship (Food Network), 27,858 (1.04 million)
8. The Curse of Oak Island (History), 26,502 (3.06 million)
9. Little People, Big World (TLC), 25,243 (1.34 million)
10. Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine (Discovery), 24,578 (1.33 million)

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