Deadliest TV Show Averages 25 Dead Bodies Per Episode [STUDY]

May 29, 2012
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Do you notice how many dead bodies appear in the normal television shows you watch? In a recent study performed by Funeralwise.com they studied 40 separate primetime programs on both cable and broadcast networks. The results are staggering when you see how many dead bodies appear vs. the number of times we see a funeral. Could this portrayal of death and no funeral be another reason we are seeing so many families forego the funeral and graveside service? Read below for the full survey results.

Study Performed by Funeralwise.com:

A Funeralwise.com study counted dead bodies on television shows to measure the role of death in popular culture. The STARZ series Spartacus: Vengeance topped all shows with an average of 25 dead bodies per episode, followed by HBO’s Game of Thrones, with 14 dead bodies per episode. The 40 TV series analyzed averaged 132 dead bodies, in total, during a single week for an average of more than 3 dead bodies per episode.

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The body count study was conceived by Funeralwise’s managing partner, Rick Paskin, when he noticed the large number of killings occurring weekly on a popular television crime show. Seeking to better understand the public’s acceptance of death as entertainment, he decided to commission the study. A network of “watchers” was assigned to count the number of dead bodies in 40 separate primetime programs on both broadcast and cable networks.

“We did not find a direct correlation between the body count and viewership, but these programs are definitely popular with the viewing audience,” Paskin said. “As a funeral resource, the role of death in modern society is an interesting subject to Funeralwise. We know how difficult it is to get people to proactively plan for their funeral. There is a clear disconnect between the acceptance of death in popular culture and the acceptance of it in reality.”

Key findings were:

  • The deadliest show was the STARZ series Spartacus: Vengeance, with an average of 25 dead bodies per episode. HBO’s Game of Thrones was the next deadliest, with 14 dead bodies per episode.
  • The deadliest broadcast network show was The CW’s Nikita, with 9 dead bodies per episode. The CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles was second deadliest, with an average of 6 dead bodies per episode.
  • CBS was the deadliest network due to having 11 shows selected for the study, by far the most of any network. Five (5) CBS shows were among the top 10 deadliest.
  • Deadliest shows for non-human creatures were The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, with 18 dead vampires per episode, and AMC’s The Walking Dead, with 16 dead zombies per episode.
  • The “safest” shows for humans and other creatures were ABC’s Revenge, TNT’s Leverage and USA’s White Collar, all of which had no dead bodies in the 8 episodes analyzed.
  • Very few funerals were shown during the programs analyzed.

The body count study was conducted during the first 4 months of 2012 and included 8 recently aired episodes of each series selected for analysis. Funeralwise emphasizes that the study was not statistically based. The shows selected for the study were judged to have content that regularly included the presence of dead bodies. Accordingly, the number of shows in the study varied from network to network. A full report of the study results is available on the Funeralwise.com website at http://www.funeralwise.com/tv-body-count-study-results.

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