Thursday, January 10, 2013

New wave of rural Southern reality shows most watched by Southerners; but how real are they?

"The rural South is the hottest thing in TV right now, and it's not Northerners gawking that account for the staggering ratings -- it's Southerners," writes Kate Storey of the New York Post.

Eight of the top 10 markets for the A&E series "Duck Dynasty," about a Louisiana bayou family that made millions from a duck-call business, are in Southern cities -- No. 1 in Knoxville, No. 2 in Birmingham. According to digital research company Trenderr, 63 percent of the social-media conversations about "Duck Dynasty" originated in the South, which the company defines as the former slave states plus Oklahoma. The second most popular show on Facebook last TV season was TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," about a 7-year-old Georgia beauty contestant and her family.

More than a quarter of A&E's programming features Southern families, but Executive Vice President of programming David McKillop told Storey that's just coincidence: "Those are shows that were based on a very strong character. . . . Maybe they're just more prevalent in the South." Horizon Media research director Brad Adgate told Storey. "I think these shows just strike a chord with Southern viewers. They've gotten really good at creating characters that viewers identify with." Creating characters? Hmmm. (Read more)

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