And Millennials & Teens’ Favorite TV Show of All Time Is…

Sep 28 2016

We asked 1000 13-33-year-olds to tell us their favorite TV show of all time to find out the series that has captured their endless devotion…

We ranked Millennials and teens’ 20 favorite TV shows right now, but what about their favorite TV shows of all time? Their favorite series of the moment certainly reflects their current values and interests, but looking at their Favorite Shows Ever can tell us a lot about what they’re looking for in entertainment, and what resonates with them in a long-lasting way.

Another reason to keep track of young consumers’ favorite shows ever? Reruns. Nielsen’s latest numbers show that syndicated TV “retains Millennial viewers,” bringing in the same number of 18-34-year-olds as September of last year, while traditional linear TV has seen rating declines. Big Bang TheoryModern Family, and Family Guy are reportedly the highest rated syndicated shows amongst this younger viewing group. Reruns aren’t just on cable for this generation; they can relive their favorite shows over and over again on streaming services whenever they want—and they do: 71% of 13-17-year-olds and 79% of 18-33-year-olds have binge watched a show that has not been on TV for several years. This access and behavior are shifting young consumers’ cultural frame of reference.

To find out what shows have earned their unending fandom and viewing devotion, we asked 1000 13-33-year-olds to answer the question, “What’s your favorite TV show of all time?”* We culled their answers into a top ranking of the series that appeals most to young viewers:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of young consumers’ favorite movies of all time. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind, and those that are actually most enjoyed. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred. 

What Is Their Favorite TV Show of All Time?

13-33-year-olds

  1. Grey’s Anatomy
  2. Friends
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Breaking Bad
  5. The Office
  6. The Walking Dead
  7. Supernatural
  8. Parks and Recreation
  9. Doctor Who
  10. Gilmore Girls
  11. How I Met Your Mother
  12. Seinfeld
  13. Firefly
  14. Lost
  15. Criminal Minds / Family Guy / Law & Order

Grey’s Anatomy topped the list of their favorite shows. Interestingly, though Millennials have been accused of “killing” the hangout sitcom, Friends is number two on the list. Many of the shows that made their top favorite of all time list are those with large, often diverse, casts. This preference both reflects the generation’s overall values, and is impacting other areas of entertainment. They’re also buying more tickets to movies with diverse casts. Out of the top films from 2011, casts made up of half non-white actors had a higher average ticket revenue. Non-white audiences also help drive sales: for 2014’s top movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, 60% of viewers were non-white.   

We need to note that Grey’s Anatomy’s position as their top favorite show is almost completely due to female fans. Here’s a look at their favorite shows by gender, which show some distinct preferences:

The vast majority of those who named Grey’s as their ultimate favorite show were female, putting it at the top of female consumers’ favorites as well. For males, Breaking Bad wins out as their top favorite show of all time.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.   

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