If you own cable, chances are, you own a DVR. If you’re under the age of 50, you probably know how to use it. If you know how to use it, it’s fairly likely that you rarely watch programming when it airs (except for sports programming), even if it means waiting only 15 minutes to build enough lead time to avoid commercial breaks. You might be surprised, however, to find that the viewership for a lot of shows is time shifted substantially more than it is not. TiVo, via The Daily Beast, compiled a list of the 20 Most Time-Shifted TV shows.
The shows themselves are not as big a surprise as the percentage that they are watched outside of their regular programming time. The list is also notable for what’s not on it, namely Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, two shows that are frequently watched live. Sunday shows dominate the list for obvious reasons: There’s a lot of them competing against one another.
Here’s the complete list and the percentage of time the are time-shifted. Or, if you’d prefer, check out the image slideshow over on The Daily Beast.
1. Nurse Jackie — 89.3 percent
2. Portlandia — 88.4 percent
3. Eureka — 87.7 percent
4. Dexter — 87 percent
5. Mad Men — 86.7 percent
6. In Plain Sight — 86.6 percent
7. Hot in Cleveland — 86.6 percent
8. Justified — 86.5 percent
9. The Vampire Diaries — 86.5 percent
10. Sanctuary — 86.4 percent
11. Psych — 86.3 percent
12. Leverage — 86.2 percent
13. Switched at Birth — 86.2 percent
14. Project Runway — 86 percent
15. Burn Notice — 85.8 percent
16. Being Human — 85.5 percent
17. Fringe — 85.5 percent
18. The Big C — 85.5 percent
19. The Killing — 85.4 percent
20. Shameless — 85.4 percent
Again, not a lot of surprises on the list, at least among the shows I watch. The good ones air at the same time as other good ones, and the bad ones I assume just aren’t a priority. Justified, at first blush, would seem out of place, since it’s an awesome show that airs on a Tuesday, but remember that it also aired against Southland, White Collar and Parenthood.
Keep in mind, too, that Nielsen — when it’s not manipulating the ratings — doesn’t factor in time-shifting unless it’s watched within the first seven days after the program aired. So, those of you with Nielsen boxes who wait to marathon five episodes at a time: The ratings don’t care about you.