You are what you eat, the old maxim goes. Does that extend to what you watch on television? Consider the top 10 shows streamed on demand by the residents of Washington, D.C. The take-no-prisoners “Games of Thrones” tops the list, followed by ”Empire” and “Power.” “Scandal” ranks No. 5, with “Veep” at No. 9. Okay, I get that, but explain Mormon-dominated Salt Lake City’s preference for “The Walking Dead,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Simpsons,” “The Last Man on Earth,” and “Impractical Jokers,” each among that city’s top 10 programs.
These rankings come courtesy of New York magazine’s pop culture digest, Vulture, which reported on exclusive data provided by Comcast about how the cable company’s viewers consumed programming via Xfinity between April 1, 2015 and the end of April 2016. The various rankings include current series as well as those no longer on the air, but that are available via streaming. This explains the presence of “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and “Entourage” on the top 10 lists in several major metropolitan areas.
In all markets, the top 10 shows are:
Game of Thrones
The Big Bang Theory
The Walking Dead
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
The Vulture report unearths some interesting viewing quirks. “Quanitco,” about FBI recruits, for example, made the top 10 in only one city, Miami. Likewise, Houston is the only city in which Dwayne Johnson’s HBO series, “Ballers,” ranked among the 10 most-consumed shows.
Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” ranks No. 9 in Atlanta, which happens to be Perry’s home base. Atlantans, it seems, take care of their own. The VH1 series, “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” ranks at No. 10 for that city.
It is similarly easy to understand why San Francisco, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, would be the only major U.S. city to rank “Mr. Robot” in its top 10. Beyond that, “The Sopranos” are alive and well in Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Hartford and Detroit, where viewers continue to stream the series more than a decade after its controversial cut to black finale.
And “Game of Thrones” is the No. 1 show in all of those cities.
As Rod Serling once concluded an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” no comment here, no comment at all. Just a reminder that there is nothing typical about the typical American, and that extends to their television preferences. If you detect a trace of bitterness, you trace correctly. "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" is a top 10 show, and last week came news that “The Grinder,” arguably the best network comedy on the air, was cancelled. The Fox series starred (I hate writing about it in the past tense) Rob Lowe as an actor who is not a lawyer but played one on TV. He returns home and teams up with his younger, overshadowed brother, who is an actual lawyer, winningly played by Fred Savage. Like “Arrested Development,” Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” and “Community,” it boasted a lightning-in-a bottle ensemble and an off-center comic universe with its own rules and rhythms. And after one season, it has been unceremoniously cancelled.
There’s a line in the film, “Bad Day at Black Rock” that goes something along the lines of “A man is only as big as the thing that makes him mad.” So I guess being mad about a cancelled TV show doesn’t exactly make me Andre the Giant. Let’s just say disappointed. But we get attached to shows we love and to the characters who inhabit their worlds.
If “The Grinder” is not rescued by another network or on-demand service such as Netflix or Hulu, I suppose it could turn out for the best. I may have been one of the few who enjoyed “Back to You” about a bickering local TV news anchor team reunited after several years. The show’s cancellation after only a couple of seasons opened new doors for the brilliant ensemble. The show’s creator, Steven Levitan, went on to create “Modern Family” and he took Ty Burrell with him. Kelsey Grammer went the dramatic route with “Boss” and Patricia Heaton found a new home in “The Middle.” Josh Gad got hot as Olaf in “Frozen.” And Fred Willard is always great.
So who knows what exciting new opportunities “The Grinder’s” cancellation will create? Oh. who am I kidding? I miss Mary Elizabeth Ellis already.