New Data Show Viewers Prefer Old Shows Over Newer, Woker Ones

Old TV

Network television has been facing a steady decline for some time now. Many people point their fingers at streaming services, which give us access to almost any show we want, whenever we want. While that may be a contributing factor, what most fail to recognize is the decline in quality programming on broadcast networks. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago when shows like The Office, Friends, and Modern Family were a hit, but those days seem to be long gone.

These days, it feels like forced diversity, excessive virtue signaling, and wokeness have taken the place of genuine comedy and drama. Turning on the TV any night of the week proves this point. People simply don’t want to watch shows that force diversity and political biases down their throats, accompanied by canned laughter. According to new data from the Nielsen company, American viewers are flocking to old, nostalgic shows from a better time in television.

To be clear, the most-watched shows are now on streaming services. However, they are not original programming. While shows like “Succession” and “The Last of Us” are streaming originals and have been successful, they don’t surpass the viewership of the most-watched show on streaming. That honor goes to “Suits,” a legal drama that premiered over a decade ago and ended in 2019.

“Suits” didn’t air on a network; it was broadcast on the USA network. But thanks to streaming, it has found a new life, possibly fueled by the curiosity surrounding Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Whatever the reason, an old show from a somewhat obscure cable network is attracting a significant number of viewers, while woke programming on streamers like Disney is struggling.

The top streaming list for 2023, in terms of minutes viewed, is out, and the results are surprising. Among the top 10 shows, “Suits,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Friends,” and “Supernatural” are all off the air and have been for years. Two of the top 10 shows are children’s programs, and the rest are shows that premiered in the 2000s but are still holding strong.

Some Hollywood apologists are blaming the writer’s strike and the lack of new content for these surprising viewership numbers. However, there may be more at play than just a lack of new shows. It is a divisive and uncertain time in American history, with culture wars raging since around 2016. Older television shows often transport people back to better days. Nostalgia sells, and in 2023, television viewers were buying.

Take the show “Friends,” for example. Despite facing criticism from the far-left for its perceived lack of diversity (to the extent that the show creator felt compelled to apologize), it remained a sought-after commodity even after being off the air since 2004. Similarly, “Gilmore Girls,” with its predominantly white and straight cast, secured the seventh position among the most-streamed shows in 2023. According to The New York Times, it offers “an endless buffet of TV comfort food.”

Nostalgia is a powerful force, and people are tired of forced diversity and woke themes. Network television is hanging by a thread, and even original content on streaming platforms pales in comparison to the streaming numbers of shows from the “good old days.” Hollywood should take note, but we all know they won’t. Thankfully, we can still enjoy comfortable, old programming at our fingertips.


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