Credit: Rick Gershon/TLC; Showtime

Republicans don’t watch MTV’s Jersey Shore. But they dig ABC’s Castle.

Democrats don’t like Discovery’s Deadliest Catch. But they swoon for NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

Those are a few of the findings from an annual research survey by Experian-Simmons that measures the consumer preferences of various political ideologies. In a report prepared exclusively for EW, the company calculated some of the favorite — and least favorite — TV shows of political partisans. (Specifically: the report measures which shows among the survey group were watched by the highest concentration of self-identified “Liberal Democrats” and “Conservative Republicans.”)

In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

Focusing on well-known cable and broadcast original entertainment series (rather than, say, sports, music, news, repeats), here’s who wins the 2011 prime-time primaries:


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): As you might expect.

30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (NBC): Literate media-savvy comedies score high among Dems in general, notes Experian-Simmons senior marketing manager John Fetto. “Sarcastic humor is always a hook for them,” he adds.

The View (ABC): Shows that skew female tend to do better among Dems, while male-friendly shows tend to do perform higher among Republicans.

Glee (Fox)

Modern Family (ABC): Last year, the progressive Glee and Modern Family scored surprisingly strong among both political leanings. Among conservatives this year, the shows still do fairly well, but have dropped out of their top ranks.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

Treme (HBO): GOP Kryptonite. Not only a Dem favorite, but so unpopular among Republicans that the report scores the show with a “*” because not enough conservatives in the study group had actually watched it.

Cougar Town (ABC)

The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS): Dems favor late-night programming, with one big exception that we’ll see below.

Also in the mix: The Soup (E!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), Raising Hope (Fox), Saturday Night Live (NBC), The Office (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime), Shameless (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Conan (TBS).


Swamp Loggers (Discovery) and Top Shot (History): Gritty documentary-style work-related reality shows on cable index really strongly with conservative Republicans. Swamp Loggers is particularly polarizing.

The Bachelor (ABC): They also tend to gravitate toward broadcast reality competition shows.

Castle (ABC): Ranks fairly high among Dems, too.

Mythbusters (Discovery)

Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Swamp People (History): If you’re a Republican candidate looking to raise money, put ads on History.

The Middle (ABC): Does well among libs, too.

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): “Did you hear about this? Yeah, this is true: Jay Leno is the late-night choice among conservatives… “

The Biggest Loser (NBC)

Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, The Mentalist (CBS): Popular crime dramas — except the left-wing Law & Order franchise — tend to draw a conservative crowd.

Also: Dancing With the Stars results show (ABC), Man vs. Wild (Discovery), Auction Kings (Discovery), Wheel of Fortune (syndi), Top Gear (BBC America).

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC


Weeds (Showtime): Female-centered drama, lots of drug use and a morally murky antihero help make this show the lowest-ranked series among righties.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): But not disliked equally. Republicans prefer Colbert between the two (maybe some pretend he’s being serious).

South Park (Comedy Central): Aww, South Park is an equal opportunity offender! But, again, media-darling sarcastic comedies tend to be a turn-off.

TMZ (syndication)

General Hospital (ABC)

Family Guy (Fox)

Dexter (Showtime): Again, that antihero thing…

Jersey Shore (MTV)

The Walking Dead (AMC): Really? But it’s about the Apocalypse!

Also: Divorce Court (syndi), The Big C (Showtime), Let’s Make a Deal (CBS), Bridezillas (WE), My Fair Wedding With David Tutera (WE), Don’t Forget the Lyrics (VH1).


— Swamp Loggers (Discovery): What are they doing on this show, feeding Nancy Pelosi to alligators?

Dog the Bounty Hunter (A&E) and COPS (syndication): “Question authority.”

The Ultimate Fighter (Spike TV): Conservatives can make their own “cut and run” jokes

The Price Is Right (CBS): Annnnd a budget-crisis joke.

CSI: Miami (CBS)

Kitchen Nightmares (Fox): Odd. Who doesn’t like a clean kitchen?

Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family): Not popular among stalwart Republicans either.

Ghost Hunters (Syfy), Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel) and The Haunted (Animal Planet): Libs don’t believe in an afterlife? Or just don’t believe in shaky night-vision reality shows that claim to prove an afterlife?

Also: Operation Repo (TruTV), Swamp People (History), Hardcore Pawn (TruTV), River Monsters (Animal Planet), Deadliest Catch (Discovery), Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy (History), Storm Chasers (Discovery), Billy the Exterminator (A&E), Deal or No Deal (GSN), Forensic Files (TruTV), Dirty Jobs (Discovery).

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