We all know that the water cooler of the past has been replaced by social media, and how there isn’t a social media website called Watercooler, I’ll never know. In any case, the Internet is where people go now to champion their favorite TV shows, and as you might imagine, some shows have far more diehard fans than others.
A new study by Nielsen Social has been put together to gauge the 10 most popular shows from the 2014-2015 season, according to the most loyal fans on Twitter. In this case, “loyalty” requires that people tweeted about three or more episodes during the season. According to Variety, the study also found, among other things, that many of these fans would send out three times as many tweets per episode than average posters. As you can tell from some of these choices, Twitter fandom doesn’t necessarily imply huge ratings, but it’s definitely interesting to see what shows are capturing those more tethered to social media than others. Let’s get started.
10. Sleepy HollowDuring its second season on Fox, Sleepy Hollow took its central characters deeper into the show’s core mythology and lost some of the mirth of Season 1, a move that left a section of the fanbase with a strange taste in their mouths. But with fairly consistent ratings – around 7 million when adjusted for DVR viewings – this supernatural drama definitely had no trouble keeping conversations flowing online, with 20% of its Twitter authors matching the requirements for this study. Will Season 3 keep that going?
9. Love & Hip-Hop HollywoodOne of the bigger surprises on this list is the VH1 reality series Love & Hip-Hop in Hollywood, a spinoff that focuses on the lives and relationships of people involved with the hip-hop community in Hollywood (obviously), including Soulja Boi, Ray J and Apryl Jones, among others. There are so many wives, girlfriends and friends on the outskirts of the central cast of this show that if they were all tweeting about the episodes along with everyone else, it would probably have scored even higher. As it was, it tied with Sleepy Hollow and the next two entries with 20%.
8 Love & Hip-Hop AtlantaCurrently moving on to Season 6, VH1’s flagship-hop series Love & Hip-Hop also had 20% of its Twitter authors hitting up multiple episodes. And why wouldn’t they, as watching Rich Dollaz, Peter Gunz and Diamond Strawberry definitely takes one away from the personal foibles of daily life. Like its spinoff, the Atlanta-based Love & Hip-Hop brings in an average of around 2.5 million viewers or so, which is slightly under Season 4 but as good or better than the others. And they’re the only two reality shows on this list, so that’s kind of remarkable.
7. GrimmClosing out the shows with 20% of loyal tweeters is NBC’s supernatural drama Grimm, which has developed quite a large fanbase over the past few years, despite having the less-than-ideal schedule spot on Friday evenings. With ratings that generally top 7 million after DVR viewings, it’s obvious that people love talking about the various monsters and abominations that Nick & Co. face. I mean come on, this is a show that had a Chupacabra in it!
6. Blue BloodsCan you imagine what Twitter would have been like had it existed when Tom Selleck was playing Magnum P.I., and Donnie Wahlberg was in New Kids on the Block? I’m not even sure if it would be any more popular than the duo’s current CBS police procedural Blue Bloods, which routinely brings in over 15 million viewers after DVR is accounted for. The hit drama squeaked by the earlier entries with 21% of its Twitter authors showing stronger-than-average love. And Blue Bloods is tied with the next entry…
5. Sons of Anarchy21% of Sons of Anarchy’s twitter fanbase was also gabbing away about this show during its seventh and final season. The Nielsen survey also found that premieres and finales will specifically draw out conversations from a combined average of 38% of a show’s authors, and I imagine that skewed a little higher during SAMCRO’s last year on our televisions, especially for that series finale. One has to wonder if Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner will carry over this sizeable audience.
4. How to Get Away with MurderMore like how to get away with inspiring a slew of Twitter conversations. How to Get Away with Murder is tied for third with the next entry, with 22% of authors constantly keeping up with the murder investigations of Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating and her students. With DVR taken into account, the series premiere was watched by over 21 million people, and even though that number dropped to 13-14 million weekly viewers, it’s still insanely popular and we expect things will only get more discussion-worthy in Season 2.
3. EmpireOne of the rare series in TV history with ratings that managed to get higher as the weeks went by, without a single decrease (in the live airings), Fox’s Empire also kept 22% of its tweeters talking furiously about it. And why wouldn’t they? Every single episode contained at least one wild and often hilarious moment, usually from Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon, as well as a song/musical sequence that demanded chatter. There’s no telling what the ratings for Season 2 will be like, but if the drama stays this soapy, the fans will keep talking.
2. The Walking DeadAnother show where premiere episodes and finales presumably draw out higher-than-normal Twitter conversations, The Walking Dead saw 23% of its tweeters keeping the conversation going last season, and it has the added bonus of airing midseason finales and premieres that execute just slightly less action and drama than the official season openers and enders. As one of cable’s most popular shows, the AMC horror drama also uses its comic book source material to its advantage, as people are always talking about how things compare. Characters constantly dying doesn’t hurt, either.
1. ScandalI totally would have thought that The Walking Dead would have been number 1 on this list, but that distinction goes to ABC’s Scandal, with an estimated 24% of its tweet authors talking up multiple episodes. The second show from Shonda Rhimes on this list, this Kerry Washington-led political drama has built up a bigger audience as each season has gone by, with most of Season 4 bringing in around 12-13 million viewers. Everybody wanted to see what kind of havoc Olivia Pope would cause when she returned to Washington D.C., and judging from the amount of Internet chatter it caused, audiences weren’t disappointed.