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Nielsen Media Names Most Engaging Shows by Party

By Lisa deMoraes
The cable show Democrats find most "engaging"?

That's a no-brainer -- Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."

But the cable show Republicans find most "engaging"?

Comedy Central's "South Park."

This according to all-things-TV-stat-related Nielsen Media, which has released its findings in re: which cable shows are most "engaging" among self-identified Dems and GOP-ers.
"Engagement" means the amount of attention paid to a show by the average viewer. This is not the same as ratings. A show with small ratings can have high engagement. Anyway, Nielsen says it clocked engagement by asking a representative panel of viewers about their recall of the content of specific telecasts.

Over at Discovery Channel, the show with the highest Dem engagement: "Deadliest Catch," which follows the treacherous, sometimes deadly, work of crab-fishermen on the Bering Sea. For Republicans, it's "Cash Cab," in which taxi passengers are asked game show questions for money but if they answer three questions incorrectly they are ejected onto the sidewalk no matter where they are. (I'm guessing there's a Leno monologue joke in there somewhere.)

On FX, Republicans find Glen Close's corrupt lawyer drama "Damages" most engaging, while Democrats are most engaged with "It's always Sunny in Philadelphia," about four 20- and 30-something friends who run a bar in south Philly.

And, on the SciFi network, Republicans are most engaged by "Doctor Who," while Dems are most engaged with "Wizard of Oz" update "Tin Man."

This is not to say the two parties can't reach across the aisle and agree on which TV shows' are most engaging. Nielsen is quick to point out the cable shows with the highest engagement scores have bipartisan appeal. Tops on the bipartisan cable list: A&E's "The Cleaner," which stars Benjamin Bratt as a guy who, after hitting rock-bottom from his own addictions, strikes what the network calls "a tentative deal with God" -- whatever that means -- and now helps people deal with their additions "by any means necessary.

Next in the bipartisan line after the drug-addict drama? Bravos' "Real Housewives of Orange County."

Posted at 2:31 PM ET on Oct 21, 2008  | Category:  Culture Wars
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I think this post slightly mischaracterizes the Nielsen report. The Colbert Report and South Park are the most engaging programs on Comedy Central for Democrats and Republicans respectively. They are not in either case--necessarily--the "cable show" the party adherents find most engaging. That is, as I understand it, the report doesn't include which show overall is most engaging to any of the groups, only those most engaging on a per channel basis.

Posted by: realityczar | October 22, 2008 3:05 PM

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