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What the US Is Watching during COVID-19

The shows we’re bingeing most while sheltering at home

If you’ve found yourself watching hours and hours of “comfort food” TV during the COVID-19 outbreak, you’re not alone. CableTV.com recently conducted a survey of nearly 7,000 housebound viewers and found that they’re spending a lot of time with old friends—capital “F” Friends, to be exact.

States watching Friends:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

We get it—who wouldn’t want to be chilling on the couch at Central Perk right now? However, Ross and Monica aren’t the only popular relatives on interdimensional cable, as you’ll see next.

States watching Rick and Morty:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Nevada

While we fully expected beloved 1994–2004 comedy Friends to top the list, we were blindsided by second-place winner Rick and Morty. The animated series’s existential nihilism couldn’t be more of a contrast to the warm fuzzies of Friends. You’re obviously going through some stuff, America.

States watching comedies:

  • Hawaii (Parks and Recreation)
  • Michigan (Shameless)
  • Nebraska (The Office)
  • North Dakota (The Office)
  • Vermont (Seinfeld)
  • Wisconsin (Shameless)

Friends and Rick and Morty aren’t the only comedies keeping the US laughing during lockdown: The Office, Parks and Recreation, Seinfeld, and raunchy dramedy Shameless also turned up in our polling. One person in our survey even listed post-apocalyptic comedy The Last Man on Earth—we appreciate a dark sense of humor, and we salute this choice.

States watching sci-fi and fantasy shows:

  • Delaware (Game of Thrones)
  • Kansas (Supernatural)
  • Kentucky (The Walking Dead)
  • Montana (The Vampire Diaries)
  • Oregon (Star Trek)
  • South Carolina (The Walking Dead)
  • Washington (Star Trek)

Sci-fi and fantasy shows are providing quarantine escape for several states—though we question the soothing qualities of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries also turned up and, based on a classic Portlandia sketch, we expected Battlestar Galactica to beat out Star Trek in the Pacific Northwest. They didn’t make it so.

States watching crime dramas:

  • Alabama (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)
  • District of Columbia (Breaking Bad)
  • Illinois (Chicago P.D.)
  • Mississippi (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)
  • Pennsylvania (Chicago P.D.)
  • Tennessee (Criminal Minds)

Law and medical shows are two of TV’s most prevailing genres—but people seem far more interested in crime scenes than hospital scenes right now (understandable). Usual suspects Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds made the lineup, as did newcomer Chicago P.D. But is Breaking Bad a crime drama? We like to think of it as a cooking show.

States watching family shows:

  • Arkansas (Gilmore Girls)
  • Connecticut (This Is Us)
  • New Jersey (This Is Us)
  • Oklahoma (Gilmore Girls)
  • Rhode Island (This Is Us)

Heart-tugging family shows would seem like a natural for these times, but our polling turned up only two definitive tearjerkers: current hit This Is Us and 2000–2007 dramedy Gilmore Girls. Maybe America isn’t ready to feel all the feels yet—we’ll send you a hug emoji.

States watching odd show combos:

  • Iowa (The Big Bang Theory, This Is Us)
  • Ohio (Friends, NCIS)
  • Minnesota (Friends, This Is Us)
  • Maine (Gilmore Girls, Shameless)
  • Missouri (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ozark)
  • New Mexico (Breaking Bad, Rick and Morty)
  • Idaho (Rick and Morty, Supernatural)
  • Wyoming (Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural)
  • South Dakota (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shameless)
  • Utah (How I Met Your Mother, The Office)
  • West Virginia (Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead)
  • Indiana (Criminal Minds, The Walking Dead)

We counted up several states with ties between shows, with some tastes more seemingly incongruous than others: Friends and NCIS, Ohio? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Shameless, South Dakota? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Ozark, Missouri? We like that kind of out-of-the-box thinking.

Newer shows that turned up in our polling:

  • Tiger King (of course)
  • The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart
  • #BlackAF
  • The Midnight Gospel
  • Too Hot to Handle

It wasn’t all just established hits and familiar classics from yesteryear. Some brand-new TV shows that were released during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic scored a few likes in our poll, though not enough to place as a top favorite in any state—not even the infamously bizarre Tiger King.

The full state-by-state list

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StateCurrent favorite TV show(s)
AlabamaLaw & Order: Special Victims Unit
AlaskaRick and Morty
ArizonaRick and Morty
ArkansasGilmore Girls
CaliforniaFriends
ColoradoRick and Morty
ConnecticutThis Is Us
DelawareGame of Thrones
District of ColumbiaBreaking Bad
FloridaFriends
GeorgiaFriends
HawaiiParks and Recreation
IdahoRick and Morty
IllinoisChicago P.D.
IndianaCriminal Minds, The Walking Dead (tie)
IowaThe Big Bang Theory, This Is Us (tie)
KansasSupernatural
KentuckyThe Walking Dead
LouisianaFriends
MaineGilmore Girls, Shameless (tie)
MarylandFriends
MassachusettsFriends
MichiganShameless
MinnesotaFriends, This Is Us (tie)
MississippiLaw & Order: Special Victims Unit
MissouriThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ozark (tie)
MontanaThe Vampire Diaries
NebraskaThe Office
NevadaRick and Morty
New HampshireFriends
New JerseyThis Is Us
New MexicoBreaking Bad, Rick and Morty (tie)
New YorkFriends
North CarolinaFriends
North DakotaThe Office
OhioFriends, NCIS (tie)
OklahomaGilmore Girls
OregonStar Trek
PennsylvaniaChicago P.D.
Rhode IslandThis Is Us
South CarolinaThe Walking Dead
South DakotaThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shameless (tie)
TennesseeCriminal Minds
TexasFriends
UtahHow I Met Your Mother, The Office (tie)
VermontSeinfeld
VirginiaFriends
WashingtonStar Trek
West VirginiaGrey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead (tie)
WisconsinShameless
WyomingGrey’s Anatomy, Supernatural (tie)

Our methodology

To determine each state’s favorite show during the COVID-19 outbreak, CableTV.com surveyed 6,852 people, asking what they were watching while sheltering at home. The most popular titles were then analyzed using Google Trends data to discover which shows each region of the US was searching between March 1, 2020 and April 21, 2020.

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