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‘Roseanne’ TV reboot reveals latest divides in Red/Blue America

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The huge success of the Roseanne reboot has captured a lot of attention in political circles in the past few weeks, particularly its enormous viewership in “Red America.” But how deep are the partisan divides in America’s entertainment TV viewing? That depends on how you look at the question.

Democrats are more likely to watch certain shows than Republicans and vice versa, but generally speaking, the most popular entertainment shows look remarkably similar, according to data from Simmons Research gathered in 2017.

Let’s start with the Democrats. When you look at the Simmons data, which is gathered through consumer surveys, some clear patterns emerge in the shows that “index” the highest for Democrats. Those are the shows Democrats are more likely than others to watch.

First, shows featuring African-American casts and delving into African-American issues stand out. Empire and Black-ish are two of the best-known examples of this point in the data, but there are also several shows from BET, Black Entertainment Television, that show up on the Democrat “over-index” list.

Another item on the Democrat’s list that might fall under this rubric: Saturday Night NBA Basketball. The NBA has long tended to have a larger share of African-American fans than other major sports.

What’s behind those viewership numbers? Politically, African-Americans overwhelmingly identify with the Democratic Party.

The Democratic list also features quite a few topical comedy shows. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Veep, both known for sharp political satire, index at sky-high rates for Democrats, while barely moving the needle for Republicans. And both shows air on HBO, which the data show tends to over-index for Democrats overall.

A different set of patterns is visible on the shows that Republicans are more likely than others to watch.

The power of the show Last Man Standing in the Republican data is remarkable – even though the show is no longer producing episodes. Last Man Standing was among the highest indexing Republican shows for the first-run episodes that aired on ABC until last spring, and for the reruns that aired on the Hallmark Channel.

In a sense, Last Man Standing was Roseanne before the latter show was rebooted a few weeks ago. It revolved around a male sporting goods store worker with strong conservative values challenging and being challenged by his family and the world around him. Since the big success of Roseanne, there is now discussion of bringing Last Man Standing back.

The Antiques Roadshow is indicative of another pattern in the Republican viewing data, a love of programs showing the value of older, vintage items. Also on the over-indexing list for Republicans: American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and This Old House.

And two sports broadcasts index highly for Republicans, NASCAR’s Xfinity Series on Fox Sports 1 and regular season college football on ESPN. The viewership of those broadcasts also under-indexes for Democrats.

There are some significant and deep splits on those lists and they largely follow what we know of the red-blue divide. The humor of Last Week Tonight is aimed at a different audience than the humor of Last Man Standing.

But when you simply look at the top entertainment shows among Democrats and Republicans – the programs that members of each party say they watch most frequently – the lists actually look quite similar.

Go back and forth between those two lists and you’ll see that seven of the top 10 shows are the same for Democrats and Republicans.

The orders may be different, but it turns out that The Big Bang Theory, Fix Upper and America’s Got Talent are purple in their overall partisan viewership. And people in both parties seem to like watching the police procedural that is NCIS and the real estate voyeurism of House Hunters.

To be clear, none of this papers over the differences in the U.S. electorate. The nation’s political ills can’t be solved by all of us plopping down together on the couch to binge watch the Property Brothers. The trend toward tribalism in American politics is real and deep and visible in a lot of ways as we have noted often in the Data Download.

Furthermore, this is just looking at cable and network television viewing habits. The world of streaming services has led to greater freedom for consumers, but at the same time, it has created further ways for audiences to segment themselves into niches and micro-niches.

But the picture is more complicated than that. The data here show that you can still find a few broad commonalities in the American experience – even in the age of President Trump and rebooted Roseanne.

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Oh dear, Nicola! Sturgeon's independence and EU dreams dismantled ‘Greece without the sun’

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NICOLA STURGEON’s separatist dream is nothing but a “tartan fantasy” which will cost Scotland £26billion a year and leave it in debt to the tune of £300billion, an economist has warned.

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Christine Wormuth set to lead Army as first female secretary

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BERLIN — President Joe Biden plans to nominate Christine Wormuth, a former senior Pentagon official, to be the first woman to lead the Army, the White House said Monday.

If confirmed by the Senate as Army secretary, Wormuth would be one of the more powerful officials in a defense establishment long dominated by men. She would work with the Army’s chief of staff, Gen. James McConville, who does not command soldiers but is responsible, along with the Army secretary, for training and equipping them.

Biden has not yet nominated anyone to serve as Air Force or Navy secretary. Many other Pentagon positions that require Senate confirmation also have yet to be filled. The most senior Defense Department nominee still awaiting Senate confirmation is Colin Kahl, picked to be under secretary of defense for policy. His nomination emerged from committee on a 13-13 vote and it’s unclear when the full Senate will act.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was traveling abroad when Wormuth’s nomination was announced, praised her track record.

“Christine is a true patriot with a dedicated career in service to America and our nation’s security,” he said in a prepared statement. He called her deeply experienced.

“I have no doubt that if confirmed she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the secretary of the Army,” Austin said.

Wormuth led Biden’s Pentagon transition team during the tumultuous period between the November election and Inauguration Day. She currently is director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp., a federally funded think tank.

During the administration of former President Barack Obama, she served as the under secretary of defense for policy. She also served as the senior director for defense policy on Obama’s National Security Council and held other Defense Department positions.

Wormuth’s nomination would continue a Biden trend of choosing women and people of color for top Defense Department jobs. Austin is the first Black secretary of defense, and Kathleen Hicks is the first woman to hold the job of deputy defense secretary.

The White House also announced the nominations of Gil Cisneros to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Susanna Blume as director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, a key office that provides independent analysis and evaluation of major defense programs and activities. She currently is the interim director of that office and has previously held senior staff positions in the Pentagon.

Cisneros is a former member of Congress and a Navy veteran.

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Boris Johnson told 'up your game' and 'listen to shop floor' in fishing row

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A FORMER Brexit Party MEP has called on Boris Johnson to “up your game” to help British fishermen amid claims post-Brexit trade barriers had left some within the industry struggling to survive.

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