Saturday, August 5, 2017

NCIS, Popular in Trump Country

For some reason I’m rather fond of NCIS, the wildly popular TV series. I watched it on and off back in the days when I had a television, and before there was much if any streaming video online, and I’ve been watching it again, the whole run, on Netflix. Here’s some basic info from the Wikipedia entry:
NCIS is an American action police procedural television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The concept and characters were initially introduced in two episodes of the CBS series JAG [...]. The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003, on CBS. To date it has aired fourteen full seasons and has gone into broadcast syndication on the USA Network. Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill are co-creators and executive producers of the premiere member of the NCIS franchise. It is the second longest-running scripted, non-animated U.S. primetime TV series currently airing, surpassed only by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–present), and is the 7th longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall. [...]

While initially slow in the ratings, barely cracking the Top 30 in the first four seasons, by its sixth season, it became a top five hit, and has remained there since. In 2011, NCIS was voted America's favorite television show in an online Harris Poll. The series finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012–13 TV season.
Season 15 will start airing in September, 2017. How many more seasons after that?

So, it’s been an enormously popular series. It started off slow, but according to TV Tropes it’s now the most popular show in the world. Why? That’s something I want to think about, but not right now. I want to save that for another post.

While thinking about the show’s popularity I wondered just who it appealed to. It seemed to me, for example, that it was more likely to appeal to a Trump voter than a Clinton or a Sanders voter. While thinking about this I turned up a NYTimes article from late last year, ‘Duck Dynasty’ vs. ‘Modern Family’: 50 Maps of the U.S. Cultural Divide, which reported that NCIS is most popular in rural areas. That’s Trump country.

In particular:
A Forbes article about Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, said that the Trump campaign may have specifically targeted “NCIS” viewers. It said data analysis “drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocs in specific regions — say, ‘NCIS’ for anti-Obamacare voters or ‘The Walking Dead’ for people worried about immigration.”
Bingo! Of course, that doesn’t necessarily imply that Clinton or Sanders voters don’t like the show, but it surely casts doubt. In any case, it bears out my intuition that the show appeals to Trump’s people.

And that’s reason enough to examine it closely.

Now, let me be clear, I am NOT a Trump person. I think he’s been a disaster so far and I have little hope that he will get better. And yet I genuinely like NCIS. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have spent so much time watching it.

More later.

P.S. I wonder what anti-ObamaCare NCIS fans think about ObamaCare now?

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