Which Returning Shows Are People Most Excited About in the US?

14 January, 2016

With the distractions of the holiday season behind us, we are anticipating the January return of our favorite shows. While some, such as iZombie, have only been off-air for a month or two, some midseason shows, such as Galavant, have been gone much longer. Which of these returning shows are people most looking forward to, as measured by audience demand for them?

For this exploration, we rank the shows returning in the first two weeks in January (January 3rd – 16th) by averaging the Demand ExpressionsTM for them from the last week in December (December 27th – January 2rd).

The top 10 shows by their pre-return audience demand are as follows:

Two teen shows, Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf, top the list—anticipation may be high because these shows last aired in August 2015. In contrast, American Horror Story and the ever-popular Big Bang Theory aired most recently out of this list, with their most recent episodes on December 16th and 17th respectively.

Demand was naturally high for the beginning of Downton Abbey’s last season on PBS, but a similar final-season bump did not happen for American Idol as it did not make this top ten list.

The most popular new shows from the fallSupergirl, Limitless and Heroes Reborn—maintained their high demand over the break in their schedules, with Heroes Reborn not having aired since November.

HBO’s Shameless had gone the longest without a new episode (since April 2015) in this list. Since demand usually decays as a show is off-air, it is impressive that Shameless has retained or gained so many Demand ExpressionsTM.

Family Guy beats out other returning shows, such as The Simpsons, to round out the top ten list.

Of course, not all returning shows have nearly as much demand as the titles in the top ten. In contrast, we rank the five least in-demand returning titles against the top ten:

While the most in-demand titles have Demand ExpressionsTM in the millions and tens of millions, the least in-demand titles only have a few hundred thousand Demand ExpressionsTM. This significantly lower demand indicates that very few people are discussing or watching these titles in their off-season. Some of these low-demand shows may just be relatively unknown as they air on cable channels, such as Love Thy Neighbor on OWN and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret on IFC. However, The Biggest Loser and Beyond the Tank air on NBC and ABC respectively; their low demand may be because of their reality format, where there is not much to discuss between seasons.

-by Kayla Hegedus, Data Scientist


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