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TV Column
Posted at 06:49 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Liberal Dems favor funny; conservative GOP-ers like huntin’, fishin’ TV

In announcing this week that he was suspending his GOP presidential campaign, Herman Cain quoted from “Pokemon: The Movie.”

He might better have referenced PBS’s “This Old House,” Discovery’s “Swamp Loggers” or ABC’s “The Bachelor” ( a shocking final-rose gag, maybe) — shows beloved by conservative Republicans, according to the media-research company Experian Simmons.

On the other hand, a Democratic hopeful looking to sound “of the people” at a gathering of followers can’t do better than to drop the names of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” or PBS’s “Masterpiece” — darlings of the liberal Dems.


The “This Old House” crew. (©Tracy Powell - WGBH/This Old House)
Experian Simmons looked to see which programs indexed highest and lowest among conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, for a survey of a full year ending last summer. The analysis does not include news, sports or music programming.

Liberal Democrats feel an overwhelming urge to laugh, Experian-Simmons concluded in the study, which was given first to the Time Warner publication Entertainment Weekly. But not body-function, Chuck Lorre-esque, laughs. No, no — liberal Dems are big fans of the more sophisticated comedy of ABC and, particularly, the too-hip-to-live comedies of NBC.

The list of top indexing shows popular among lefter-leaning Dems includes NBC’s “30 Rock,” “Parks and Rec,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “The Office.”Also on their Must-See-TV list are ABC’s “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town”; Fox’s “Glee” and “Raising Hope”; and Showtime’s daddy’s-a-drunk-and-hilarity-ensues series, “Shameless.”


Tina Fey on “30 Rock” (Nicole Rivelli - NBC)
They also love CBS’s two late-night talkers, with David Letterman and Craig Ferguson. They also gravitate toward Conan O’Brien — which may explain why he did so badly when he was hosting NBC’s “Tonight Show” airing directly opposite Letterman: They were splitting the vote!

Meanwhile, “Masterpiece” is the third highest indexing show among liberal Dems, trailing only the two Comedy Central faux-news programs. “Masterpiece” indexes at a whopping “234,” which means a “Masterpiece” viewer is 134 percent more likely to be a liberal Democrat than the average adult viewer.

It’s one of two PBS programs in the liberal Dem top-25 — the other is “American Masters.”

But before you go all “PBS is soooo liberal” on us: “This Old House” is the second highest indexing show among conservative Republicans. It indexes higher than even “The 700 Club.” PBS has three shows on the Conservative Index List, including “New Yankee Workshop” and “Antiques Roadshow.”

Conservative Republicans, the study says, really seek out shows in which blue-collar folk do stuff — stuff like huntin,’ and fishin,’ and pawnin,’ and loggin,’ and fat-farmin’.

Anyway, conservative Republicans go crazy for cable: “Swamp Loggers” and such other Discovery shows as “Mythbusters,” Man vs. Wild” and “Auction Kings”; History’s “Swamp People,” “Top Shot,” “Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy” and “American Pickers”; and BBC America’s “Top Gear.” They also gravitate toward ABC’s “The Bachelor” and the “Dancing With the Stars” results show; NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”; and CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O” and “NCIS.”
Trapper Joe and Tommy on “Swamp People” (Zach Dilgard - History)

And Jay Leno — they love Jay Leno. Leno and Letterman don’t split the vote; they can coexist in the same time slot, which explains why NBC brought Leno back to late night.

“We’re entering a heavily political advertising season and there’s going to be a lot of ad dollars spent over the next year trying to reach voters. This is one way of identifyin ... which television shows attract high concentrations of key voter segments,” Experian Simmons marketing manager John Fetto told The TV Column.

“It might even be useful from a political standpoint,” he noted, “a way to connect with voters at speaking opportunities: ‘Hey, I just saw “x” on “Cougar Town”!’ Okay, that one’s not likely.”

Oh, and BTW, the “Pokemon” quote that Cain recited in his “suspension” speech? “Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.”

It’s from the song, sung by Donna Summer, that was playing during the flick’s final credits. In other words, as Jon Stewart noted on that liberal Dem-magnet “Daily Show”: “The thing they play to get you the [expletive] out of the theater.”

By  |  06:49 PM ET, 12/06/2011

 
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