Those who don’t watch their television through the window of a Best Buy—a window that slowly becomes obscured, as your every splutter of laughter sprays more of the hobo chili you’re eating straight out of the can—know that the true measure of a show’s quality is how closely it aligns you with the nobler classes. Fortunately, Nielsen can track the average median income of a show’s viewers, allowing everyone to determine whether they are the aristocratic elite who enjoys the comedy of well-appointed manors of Modern Family, or part of the grubby hoi polloi who briefly stops burning abandoned cars and staging rat-fights to catch Bob’s Burgers. It’s data that has long proved crucial to advertisers, and even more crucial to helping you decide whether you’re watching the right TV for your tax bracket.
“It’s not too surprising that higher income viewers are more likely to watch programs that are critically acclaimed and contenders for industry awards like the Golden Globes and Emmys,” researcher Brad Adgate tells The Wrap, explaining why those with more money are naturally drawn to programs that are predetermined to be worth their time—time they would otherwise be spending cornering markets and shopping for horses. Along with Modern Family (average viewer income: $81,100), Parks And Recreation runs a close second among wealthy viewers, who delight in watching the antics of the middle class comically struggling to accomplish things on public money. And they’re closely followed by Nashville and The Mindy Project, with each giving them the sprawling mansions and Tory Burch references to which they can relate.
Similarly not surprising is the list of the “poorest” TV shows—a list topped by Bob’s Burgers (average viewer income: $48,800) and the rest of Fox’s Sunday night animation lineup—as their viewers tend to be younger, watching in between pickpocketing and fashioning bongs out of things. Meanwhile, the rest of the “poor” list is dominated by wish fulfillment fantasies like Undercover Boss (If only my boss were forced to work my menial job!), Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (If only my boss turned out to be a giant caterpillar and me a fairy tale princess!), and 48 Hours and CSI (If only someone would murder my boss!). There’s also America’s Funniest Home Videos, reaffirming the oft-repeated argument that our nation would be better off if only it pulled itself up by its bootstraps, instead of watching others do that, then hit themselves in the nuts.
Anyway, here’s the complete “richest” and “poorest” lists, for organizing your next viewing party prelude to the class war.