The Voice, DWTS Appeals to Rural Viewers, SYTYCD to City Dwellers

This week, the New York Times posted an interesting study that corrlates the popularity of TV shows to the political cultural divide. “Americans have been clustering themselves into cultural bubbles,” writes the NYT, “just as they have clustered in political bubbles. Their TV preferences confirm that.”

In fact, the piece insists, if one were to guess how stongly a place supported Donald Trump in the election, knowing how popular Duck Dynasty is there would be more telling than how George W. Bush did there in 2000.

Here’s the Times methodology:

When we looked at how many active Facebook users in a given ZIP code “liked” certain TV shows, we found that the 50 most-liked shows clustered into three groups with distinct geographic distributions. Together they reveal a national culture split among three regions: cities and their suburbs; rural areas; and what we’re calling the extended Black Belt — a swath that extends from the Mississippi River along the Eastern Seaboard up to Washington, but also including city centers and other places with large nonwhite populations.

We’ve created a fandom map for each of the top 50 shows, ranked in order of the difference between their highest and lowest fan percentages. As you get deeper in the page, you’ll find the shows with more consistent popularity — points of unity in a splintering culture.

Interestingly, The Voice ranks No. 4 with a strong fanbase in rural areas, but not so much in the cities. The competition reality show was only behind Duck Dynasty and Fast N’ Loud in its correlation to Trump voters! That explains the continual triumph of country artists on the show. It’s amazing that Alisan Porter managed to beat Blake Shelton’s Adam Wakefield earlier this year. Really, The Voice had to constantly pimp her and coach Christina Aguilera to get that particular result.

Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance place further down on the list, which means they have a bit more of a broad appeal. But that can partly be attributed to the popularity of dance in “rural” areas like Utah.

However, So You Think You Can Dance appeals mostly to an urban audience while Dancing with the Stars appeals to rural viewers. The Voice audience is listed as “least similar” to SYTYCD. Also, DWTS has a higher share of “likes” from viewers aged 65 and up than any other show on the list. Even higher than the CBS procedural, NCIS.

I think it goes without saying that an American Idol map would look a lot like The Voice map.

There’s much more at the New York Times Upshot. Really interesting stuff.

The Voice

4. The Voice, a singing competition, is most popular in North Dakota and least popular in New York. It was behind only Duck Dynasty and Fast N’ Loud in its correlation with Trump voters.

MOST SIMILAR
Duck Dynasty
Fast n’ Loud
Pawn Stars

LEAST SIMILAR
Game of Thrones
So You Think You Can Dance
Modern Family

9. Empire

Fox’s musical-drama series Empire tells the story of a hip-hop music company, Empire Entertainment, and the family members who fight for control of it. The show, which The New York Times described as “a double-edged variation on a familiar genre, mixing not just hip-hop music and R&B, but also adding a contemporary sensibility to Aaron Spelling-era melodrama,” is most popular in the Black Belt and in parts of the country with a high percentage of Native Americans.

MOST SIMILAR
Love & Hip Hop
106 & Park
Real Housewives of Atlanta

LEAST SIMILAR
MythBusters
Deadliest Catch
Pawn Stars

31. Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live, the 41-year-old late-night live comedy show, is very much an urban show. It’s most popular in cities throughout the country, and college towns. Amherst, Mass.; Madison, Wis.; and Ithaca, N.Y., are all among the top 10.

MOST SIMILAR
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The Daily Show
Modern Family

LEAST SIMILAR
Duck Dynasty
Teen Mom
16 and Pregnant

Dancing with the Stars

33. Dancing With the Stars on ABC pairs celebrities, often of the B-list variety, with professional dancers in a multi-week dance competition. Unlike “So You Think You Can Dance,” which is generally more of a city show, Dancing with the Stars is most popular in the countryside. It also has a higher share of “likes” from viewers aged 65 and up than any other show.

MOST SIMILAR
Grey’s Anatomy
Duck Dynasty
Pawn Stars

LEAST SIMILAR
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy

41. So You Think You Can Dance

So You Think You Can Dance is another dance competition show, this one on Fox. It was created by the same people who made “American Idol,” the musical talent show. In general, it’s more popular in cities, though it hits peak popularity in Utah.

MOST SIMILAR
Modern Family
Game of Thrones
The Daily Show

LEAST SIMILAR
Teen Mom
Fast n’ Loud
The Voice

About mj santilli 29550 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!