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‘Game of Thrones’ tops with LGBTQ households in Nielsen survey

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‘Game of Thrones’ tops with LGBTQ households in Nielsen survey

TV ratings survey company Nielsen has released their survey tracking the viewing habits of LGBTQ households and the big winner is– no surprise– Game of Thrones.

The epic fantasy series based on the novels of author George R. R. Martin had ranked first among cable programs in same-sex households that were surveyed by Nielsen.

Meanwhile, the NCAA Basketball Championship came in first among the major TV networks.

LGBTQ households: Similarities and differences

These two shows were also the most popular with straight households– which indicates that queer people aren’t that different from straight people.

Following Game of Thrones is The Rachel Maddow Show. The survey noted that most of the shows watched by LGBTQ households aligned with their straight counterparts.

However, there were two notable exceptions with higher LGBTQ concentration: RuPaul’s Drag Race and its spinoff, Untucked.

The survey doesn’t count shows from streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, given that these companies keep their data private.

With the number of LGBTQ-themed shows on these platforms, Nielsen’s results could have an entirely different outcome.

Nielsen to track LGBTQ households on viewership

Nielsen’s survey is part of their collaboration with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD), a LGBTQ media advocacy organization, to track the viewing habits of LGBTQ people.

“As the media marketplace continues to evolve, our clients are increasingly looking to better understand consumers of all types to effectively reach new and unique audiences,” Nielsen VP Brian Fuhrer said in their initial release.

Fuhrer added: “This enhancement will help both programmers and marketers gain LGBTQ audience insights and provide the industry with a better understanding of the compelling opportunity these consumers represent.”

“We are at the highest levels ever reported for LGBTQ inclusion on television, and its important that we know American audiences are connecting with these characters and shows,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.

“We appreciate Nielsen’s commitment to ensuring that LGBTQ people wherever they live and consume television are being counted– and that those numbers are being reported,” Ellis said.

LGBTQ representation on the TV screen

According to GLAAD’s recent “Where We Are On TV” report that tracks representation of LGBTQ characters on TV, there are more LGBTQ people of color (50%) than white LGBTQ people (49%) on broadcast TV for the first time.

GLAAD reported that there are 75 regular characters identified as LGBTQ out of 857 on broadcast scripted primetime programming. There are also an additional 38 recurring LGBTQ characters.

For RuPaul’s Drag Race and Untucked, 16 percent of its audience were from same-sex households.

For the week of April 8, below are the 10 most-watched primetime shows on broadcast and cable among same-gender partner homes vis-a-vis overall viewership in parentheses.


1. NCAA Men’s Championship (CBS), 176,934 (19.72 million)
2. Survivor (CBS), 120,921 (7.6 million)
3. NCIS (CBS), 116,498 (11.82 million)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS), 96,273 (8.72 million)
5. Modern Family (ABC), 95,180 (4.81 million)
6. The Voice (Monday) (NBC), 95,130 (7.62 million)
7. American Idol (Sunday) (ABC), 94,696 (7.26 million)
8. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 84,223 (6.82 million)
9. The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC), 81,510 (7.32 million)
10. The Goldbergs (ABC), 79,655 (4.64 million)


1. Game of Thrones (HBO), 191,135 (11.76 million)
2. The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC), 66,071 (2.55 million)
3. Untucked (VH1), 65,782 (405,989)
4. RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1), 64,082 (402,516)
5. All In With Chris Hayes (MSNBC), 34,280 (1.57 million)
6. Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC), 33,344 (2.02 million)
7. Spring Baking Championship (Food Network), 27,858 (1.04 million)
8. The Curse of Oak Island (History), 26,502 (3.06 million)
9. Little People, Big World (TLC), 25,243 (1.34 million)
10. Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine (Discovery), 24,578 (1.33 million)

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