Roseanne Reboot: Controversial, Political & Successful


Corey Rice
Content Marketing Strategist
Mar 30, 2018

Legendary sitcom Roseanne rode the nostalgia wave to a reboot last week that was wildly successful by all accounts. During its first run from 1988-1997 the ground-breaking program consistently addressed controversial topics and broke down social barriers.

Now in 2018, after twenty-one years off the air, the original cast has returned to a completely different social and political climate – which opened the door for Roseanne’s character to explore and project personal political beliefs – more specifically, her unwavering and vocal support for the current presidential administration. Aside from the monster viewership of last week’s back-to-back season premier episodes, political discussion dominated the press around the reboot of Roseanne.

Samba TV measured the viewership of these episodes to uncover audience insights around geo and political trends using our proprietary visual ACR technology – ContentID – which is sourced from 14.4M opt-in US households. Samba’s analysis was picked-up in the press by MediaPost and Broadcastingcable.com, here’s what our data science team discovered:

Geopolitical Trends: Midwest and Republican

Samba TV measured viewership for all fifty states against the US average and saw a clear political trend:

Of the top ten states with highest Roseanne viewership above the US average, eight voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election: Nebraska (+60%), Wisconsin (+47%), Oklahoma (+43%), Missouri (+37%), Iowa (+36%), Pennsylvania (+34%), Ohio (+32%) and Michigan (+28%). The only blue states that cracked the top ten were Illinois (+34%) and Massachusetts (+24%).

When looking at highest viewership by metro area above the US average, the top five were primarily midwest or rustbelt: Pittsburgh (+51%), Cleveland (+42%), St. Louis (+38%), Philadelphia (+30%) and Chicago (+29%).

When looking at lowest viewership by metro area relative to the US average, the top five were all coastal and southern: Orlando (-94%), Miami (-58%), San Francisco (-24%), Los Angeles (-24%) and Washington DC (-22%)

Cable News Affiliation

By using cable news viewership as a proxy for political affiliation, Samba TV was able to determine the politics of viewers. Our analysis shows that Fox News viewers (Republicans) were more likely to watch than CNN/MSNBC viewers (Democrat):

  • Fox News consumption index above the US average for Roseanne viewers: 1.89x
  • CNN consumption index above the US average for Roseanne viewers: 1.56x
  • MSNBC consumption index above the US average for Roseanne viewers: 1.54x

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