The Returning TV Shows That Are Exploding in Social Media

Trendrr Data Crowns 'America's Got Talent' (Thanks, Howard Stern!) as The Champ

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In the last installment of this charticle, we noted that the social-TV phenomenon -- where TV and social media intersect -- just keeps growing and growing. Our editorial partner Trendrr, for example, announced at Ad Age 's Social Engagement/Social TV Conference that social activity surrounding broadcast prime-time in April had topped its level a year earlier by 194%.

That made me wonder about the increases for individual shows, and because a bunch of series had season premieres over the past month, Trendrr dug into its year-over-year data for answers.

Scroll down below the chart for some notes and context.

  • The chart is organized, top to bottom, based on highest percentage increase year-over-year. NBC's "America's Got Talent" racked up a Trendrr Social Activity score of 9,576 for its May 31, 2011, season premiere, based on measures including tweets, public Facebook updates and check-ins. The show kicked that score up to 161,334 for its May 14 premiere this year -- an increase of 1,585%. A lot of that growth can obviously be attributed to new judge Howard Stern -- who I think is doing a smashing job, by the way.
  • If you're a regular reader of our social-TV charticles, you already know what tends to do really well in social media: reality competitions -- including "AGT" and "The Next Food Network Star" (up 294% year-over-year) -- and reality-TV shows in general, including E!'s "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," aka "KUWTK," or "What The KUWTK!?," as I like to call it. That show had year-over-year growth of "just" 72% in social activity between its June 12 season premiere last year and its May 20 premiere this year, but that 's only because it grew off an already big 2011 social-buzz base (the biggest on our chart, in fact).
  • It's worth noting that seven of the 10 returning series with the biggest year-over-year leaps in social-media activity are in the reality genre.
  • The one sort-of surprise on our chart: that Comedy Central's "Workaholics" is so huge. It's a comparatively small and niche-y show, now in its third season (on an accelerated schedule); its Season 1 premiere on April 6, 2011, drew an audience of 1.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen, while its Season 2 (Sept. 20, 2011) and Season 3 (May 29, 2012) premieres each drew 2.1 million viewers. So why is it so big in social? Because it's super meme-y. For instance, check out this clip, titled "We've Run Out of Things We Smeeoke," that Comedy Central just posted on YouTube yesterday:

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital company behind Trendrr.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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