Travis Petersen | November 17, 2020
The Most Popular TV Episodes & Shows During the Holiday Season
- Each State’s Most-Searched TV Show During Thanksgiving
- Here are the TV Episodes Americans Watch Most on Thanksgiving
- Each State’s Most-Searched TV Show During Christmas
- Here are the TV Episodes Americans Watch Most on Christmas
- Each State’s Most-Searched TV Show During New Year’s Eve
- Here are the TV Episodes Americans Watch Most on New Year’s Eve
What role does TV play in your holiday traditions? Do you binge-watch Friends after you’ve eaten your weight in turkey? Does your family queue up The Office after you’ve opened presents? What about New Year’s Eve? Are you team action or team sci-fi as you wait for the ball to drop?
As lovers of (and, if we may say so ourselves, experts in) all things TV, the team of USDISH wanted to know which TV episodes are most popular during the holiday season. We also wanted to find the most-googled TV shows during each holiday too—so that’s exactly what we did.
We found the most popular TV episodes and shows on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, respectively. According to our findings, shows from the ‘90s are all the rage during the holidays.
If you’re team Seinfield, we hate to break it to you: Friends was each state’s most-searched TV show during the holidays, as well as the TV show that boasted the highest number of most popular episodes overall. Right behind Friends is The Office, the second-most popular TV show during the holidays.
We also found that Americans tend to watch longer episodes during Christmas and shorter episodes during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Read on to see what else we uncovered.
- According to our findings, Friends is the most popular TV show on Thanksgiving. Of the fifteen episodes that made our list, ten were Friends episodes. Friends had an astronomical budget per episode (some episodes were as high as $10 million). Luckily for NBC, it clearly paid off.
- Comedy and romance are hits around Thanksgiving. A whopping fourteen out of the top fifteen episodes are categorized as comedy. Thirteen out of the fifteen TV episodes are also categorized as romance.
- Apparently Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a little throwback TV. Seven out of the top fifteen episodes aired in the ‘90s, while six aired in the 2000s.
- The average running time of all the episodes on our list is twenty-four minutes, which is about how long it takes to make Grandma’s green bean casserole that you never eat each year.
- You may not think Christmas and medical dramas go hand in hand, but 33% of the episodes in the top fifteen were from House.
- 66% of the TV episodes in the top fifteen were released in the early 2000s.
- The average running time of all the episodes on our list is forty minutes, which is longer than the average running times for the most popular TV episodes on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
- The Office snagged three episodes in the top fifteen, as did How I Met Your Mother.
- Last December, the most-googled TV shows were The Simpsons, The Office, and Doctor Who.
New Year’s Eve
- Friends dominated the New Year’s Eve category: 20% of the top fifteen episodes lead with the signature, “The One with the . . .”
- Unlike Thanksgiving, the majority of popular TV episodes on New Year’s Eve premiered in 2010. Eight out of the top fifteen TV episodes premiered sometime around 2010.
- People evidently love to ring in the new year with laughs. Twelve out of the fifteen episodes that made our list feature comedy as their primary genre.
- The average running time of all the episodes on our list is twenty-three minutes—the shortest average running time of all the holidays in our report.
- Last January, each state googled Friends, Modern Family, and The Office the most of any TV show.
- That ‘70s Show isn’t very popular in most states, but in Alaska, the show is the state’s most-searched TV show year-round.
To find the most popular TV episodes on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, we analyzed the top fifteen holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data.
To qualify for our analysis, each episode had to meet the following criteria:
- Contain the keywords “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” or “New Year’s Eve,” respectively
- Be produced between 1990–2020
- Have over 1,500 IMDb votes
- Achieve a rating of 7.5 and above
Once we narrowed down our search, we found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings. Then we ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership.
To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November, December, and January, respectively, we analyzed Google Trends data.
|State||Shows Popular on Thanksgiving||Shows Popular on Christmas||Shows Popular on New Year's Eve|
|Alaska||How I Met Your Mother||The X-Files||That '70s Show|
|Connecticut||This Is Us||The Office||Parks and Recreation|
|Delaware||This Is Us||Modern Family||Modern Family|
|District Of Columbia||This Is Us||Modern Family||Modern Family|
|Georgia||This Is Us||The Simpsons||Friends|
|Hawaii||How I Met Your Mother||The Simpsons||Modern Family|
|Idaho||Friends||The Office||The Office|
|Iowa||This Is Us||The Simpsons||Friends|
|Kansas||Friends||Doctor Who||Parks and Recreation|
|Louisiana||This Is Us||The Simpsons||Friends|
|Maine||This Is Us||House||Doctor Who|
|Maryland||This Is Us||The Simpsons||Doctor Who|
|Massachusetts||This Is Us||The Office||Modern Family|
|Michigan||Friends||The Office||The Office|
|Mississippi||The Big Bang Theory||House||The Big Bang Theory|
|Montana||Friends||Doctor Who||The X-Files|
|Nevada||The Big Bang Theory||The Simpsons||Friends|
|New Hampshire||Friends||The Office||Modern Family|
|New Jersey||This Is Us||The Office||Friends|
|New Mexico||The Big Bang Theory||The Simpsons||Friends|
|New York||This Is Us||The Simpsons||Friends|
|North Carolina||This Is Us||The Office||Friends|
|North Dakota||Friends||This Is Us||The X-Files|
|Ohio||Seinfeld||The Office||The Office|
|Oklahoma||Friends||The Office||The Big Bang Theory|
|Pennsylvania||This Is Us||The Office||Modern Family|
|Rhode Island||This Is Us||The Office||The Office|
|South Carolina||This Is Us||The Simpsons||The Big Bang Theory|
|South Dakota||The Big Bang Theory||How I Met Your Mother||The X-Files|
|Utah||Friends||The Simpsons||The Office|
|Vermont||House||The Office||Doctor Who|
|West Virginia||Friends||The Simpsons||Friends|
|Wisconsin||The Big Bang Theory||The Simpsons||The Office|
|Wyoming||How I Met Your Mother||House||The Big Bang Theory|
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