It’s been a rough few days for fans of Shonda Rhimes’ trio of dramas, affectionately dubbed TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday), as news of pushed premiere dates in favor of inauguration coverage caused public outcry. ABC announced earlier this month that it would delay premieres for Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder to air a 20/20 special about the Trump family.
The decision to postpone shows—like Scandal—known for depictions of strong, minority women, in favor of President Elect Trump is a difficult pill to swallow for many parts of the country. Let’s look at the states where Shondaland reigns supreme, and viewers who were counting on a little feminist TV to get them through the end of a traumatic election season now have one more thing to mourn.
How’d we figure out which states make up the United States of Shondaland? We pulled years of data from Google Trends, starting with each show’s premiere date. Yep. That’s right. You’re looking at over a decade of viewership trends for Grey’s Anatomy. You’re welcome.
New England is hoping Grey’s will save them from the harsh, cold winter of their discontent.
Contrary to the trends we’ve seen in much of our TV content mapping, Grey’s Anatomy is wildly popular in a location that has absolutely nothing to do with its actual setting in Seattle. In our research of TV preferences by state, we’ve discovered New England prefers TV featuring strong, female characters and, as you’ll see from the map above, Grey’s Anatomy appeals to this predilection. The show also serves up a heavy side of romance, which taciturn New Englanders seem to have a secret craving for. You’re not fooling anyone, ye old salts.
Perhaps most interesting is that unlike the other Shondaland shows, there is absolutely no overlap between the top 10 states that like Grey’s Anatomy and those that prefer Scandal. Scandal fans favor How to Get Away with Murder, but aren’t as keen about the long running Rhimes’ medical drama. You’ll also notice that while there aren’t many states below the Mason-Dixon line in the Grey’s Anatomy top 10, there are two west of the Mississippi. The ongoing medical drama, now in its 13th season (OMG!), is pretty popular with Dakotans, which makes it the only Shondaland show with Midwest reach.
The Eastern Seaboard is familiar with political scandal, but they prefer the fictional kind.
The regional popularity of Scandal has already been reported in other maps, including the fact that it blasts away the competition on Netflix. What is worthy of note here, however, is how closely it overlaps with the fan base for How to Get Away with Murder. There are a few excellent reasons for this, the first of which is location, location, location. Both dramas take place in D.C. and Philly, so if the trends on TV popularity hold true with our other research, you’d expect the Atlantic Seaboard to be playing favorites.
In addition to some regional similarities, the shows also share one notable feature: a strong, black woman as the main character. This has been one of the signature components of Shonda Rhimes’ TV, leading many to characterize these dramas as subversively feminist. Scandal’s wide appeal across the South doesn’t extend west of the Mississippi and may have to do with population demographics and viewing preferences that lean towards the familiar. Politics aside, Olivia Pope has impressed both red and blue states alike.
How to Get Away with Murder
The North didn’t get the President they wanted, but for now, getting their TGIT fix would be enough.
The third in our trio of Shondaland shows is How to Get Away with Murder, which takes place in Philadelphia and features a bi-sexual, black female law professor, Annalise Keating. This ambitious role has garnered Viola Davis several awards and the honor of becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for a leading role.
This cluster of fandom is a tight circle of states along the Northern Atlantic Seaboard, which aligns closely with How to Get Away with Murder’s fictional location. It also, however, correlates with many of the cities identified as some of the wealthiest and most influential African-American communities, in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Our guess is that Annalise Keating’s backstory resonates more with cities that share the same demographics as Scandal’s die-hard viewers.
If you’re one of many fans dismayed by the delay in TGIT premieres, take heart. ABC assures the Shondaland trio will be back on Thursday, January 26 to console its viewers. Until then, check out how much your state loves each of these beloved TGIT dramas…
|28||District of Columbia|
|2||District of Columbia|
How to Get Away with Murder
|6||District of Columbia|
Missing your favorite Shondaland show due to ABC’s pushed premiere dates? Tell us in the comments and share the love for your favorite TGIT show.