BYU students TV favorites buck national trends

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Watching television is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and TV trends are constantly changing. A recent unscientific survey asked 100 BYU students about their TV watching habits including favorite shows, which medium shows were watched on and with whom students watched TV.

Sofia Vergara and Ty Burrell star in "Modern Family," one of the most popular shows among BYU students.
Sofia Vergara and Ty Burrell star in “Modern Family,” one of the most popular shows among BYU students.

According to Nielsen’s ratings for TV, the five most popular shows across American are  currently “Under the Dome,” “America’s Got Talent,” “60 Minutes,” “Big-Bang Theory” and “NCIS.” Not one of these shows, however, overlaps with BYU students’ top-five favorite shows. According to the survey of 100 BYU students, the top five most watched TV shows are “Suits,” “New Girl,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Bachelorette” and “Modern Family.”

Nick Hardy, a senior studying English from Palos Verdes, Calif., finds some of these shows relate more to him and other BYU students than the national favorites.

“The reason my friends and I got hooked on ‘Suits’ is that we would like to think it is like looking into our futures,” Hardy said. “We all have big dreams, and most of us are entering the corporate world, so watching guys at the top fight to stay true to their morals in an immoral environment keeps us watching.”

“The Bachelorette” is a popular show to watch because it is relevant to BYU students and can be interactive between friends. Spencer Blake, a sophomore business major from Bountiful, has made memories with his friends through watching “The Bachelorette” every Monday night.

“‘The Bachelorette’ is all about love and BYU students are all about love and getting married,” Blake said. “The drama just gets you and pulls you in. I get together every Monday night with the ‘bros.’ It’s kind of like our version of family night.”

Suits, starring Gabriel Macht, right, and Patrick J. Adams is one of BYU student's favorite shows.
Suits, starring Gabriel Macht, right, and Patrick J. Adams is one of BYU student’s favorite shows.

Madeline Crawley, a senior international relations major from Provo, makes watching “The Bachelorette” into a bracket with categories such as “first person to make the bachelorette cry,”first kiss,” “best first impression” and “first to go home without a rose ceremony.”

“We love watching ‘The Bachelorette’ because we get together and make it a big deal and joke about it,” Crawley said. “We started to get sick of the show because all the seasons are the same, so to make it interesting we made a bracket like the fantasy football bracket. When everyone came over they could actually enjoy the show and have fun.”

Watching TV can be a solo and a social activity. Out of the 100 students surveyed at BYU, one-third claimed to watch TV by themselves. Another third watches TV with their roommates. Melissa Welling, a senior studying recreational therapy from Farmington, watches TV if it is convenient.

“My roommates and I don’t have a set show that we like to watch together,” Welling said. “If they are sitting down to watch a show and I have nothing going on, I’ll watch it with them, but only if I’m really bored.”

Some roommates find that watching a TV show together can be a bonding experience. Weston Wells, a senior business management major from Mission Viejo, Calif., finds a common interest with his roommates through a good show.

“Watching a TV show with the roommates is great,” Wells said. “Everyone stops what they are doing and gets together to enjoy a common interest. It gives us something to talk about, laugh about and look forward to the next week.”

The one-third of the student’s surveyed that prefer to watch TV alone view TV as a way to take a break from school or work. Ashley Andersen, a senior advertising major from Aurora, Colo., prefers to watch TV alone.

“When I get home from school I like to pull out my computer and watch an episode or two on Hulu,” Andersen said. “It helps me relax and switch from school mode to normal mode.”

It’s no surprise that students more frequently watch their television shows via the Internet rather than on cable. Watching TV on websites such as Hulu and Netflix allows students to watch shows at their own pace and on their own time.

“I like to watch TV on my own timetable, so I only ever watch it online,” Andersen said. “I sometimes have to wait to see the latest episode, but the convenience is worth it for me.”

With new shows being created and the Internet becoming more and more prevalent in the everyday lives of BYU students, TV trends are expected to continually change. Shows with themes comparable to students’ lives, however, may continue to be the most popular.

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