Shared Screens: Scripted Television’s Communal Space in a Polarized Nation:

Americans are increasingly sorting themselves along partisan lines into distinct cultures, a phenomenon that contributes to an alarming rise in partisan polarization. While substantial research has been devoted to the ways in which Americans are divided along cultural lines, there has been less attention to investigating those dwindling cultural spaces that remain shared.

Liberals and conservatives tend to prefer different kinds of scripted TV programming, but there are still shows that command broad crossover audiences and hold equal appeal for different partisan groups. What’s the “secret sauce” for these crossover shows?

This study examines scripted TV shows that are watched by liberals, conservatives, and moderates in roughly equal proportion. Using 2019 NCS (National Consumer Survey) data, the project employs a quantitative content analysis to identify story features shared by the most politically “communal” scripted television shows.