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PTC Ranks Prime-Time Shows Watched by Kids, Teens

By admin Published: November 12, 2008

"Ever since those PTC rankings came out, there's nothing good on!"

The Parents Television Council approves of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," not of "Family Guy." Full announcement and ranking after the jump.

In its annual ranking of the 20 most popular prime time broadcast television shows among children ages 2-17 based on Nielsen Media Research data, the Parents Television Council™ found that reality and game shows continue to grow in popularity and are often the most family-friendly fare for children to watch. The PTC rated each of the Nielsen top 20 ranked shows with children ages 2-17 according to their suitability for that audience based on foul language, sexual content and violence, along with the overall themes of each program.

“Nielsen data reveals that children continue to be drawn to the plethora of game and reality shows on TV. For the most part, these shows trump their scripted counterparts in providing content that is suitable for the whole family. Programs like ‘American Idol’ on Fox and ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ continue to be some of the most watched shows by kids and most suitable programs on the air today. We applaud these networks for providing worthwhile family entertainment,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“It’s impossible for the networks to ignore that reality shows centered on charity, talent, or just wholesome fun rather than ruthless competition, seem to win ratings-wise as well as with family audiences. Unfortunately, the networks are still failing to meet the demand for programs that the entire family can watch together; and scripted programs have all but disappeared from our list of recommended entertainment choices.

“With the growth of contest-driven shows, the networks appear to be pandering to a lower level by pushing the limits of what’s appropriate. Parents should be wary of new offerings such as Fox’s ‘Moment of Truth’ which incentivizes contestants to reveal salacious truths about their past that often devastate their friends and family members. Fox’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is another example of a reality program that kids should avoid; the show is replete with foul language and abusive remarks directed at the aspiring chefs. Still, neither of these programs holds a candle to Fox’s ‘Family Guy.’ The animated series naturally attracts young viewers, but its storylines focus on everything from bestiality to pedophilia.

“The broadcast networks are fully aware of the positive returns that family-friendly programs provide, but they insist on pushing the limits at every turn. We encourage more family-friendly content and ask that networks use discretion in promoting and re-airing adult shows when children are most likely to be in the viewing audience. Advertisers also have a responsibility in ensuring the content they underwrite is a reflection of their corporate image,” Winter concluded.

Using its trademarked traffic-light ratings system, the PTC analyzed the 20 most popular primetime broadcast shows among children ages 2-17 according to Nielsen Media Research data for the entire 2007-2008 TV season. For this analysis, PTC included only the shows that are currently airing or will be returning to broadcast. The programs were ranked according to their suitability for young viewers. Each series was rated as suitable [green], questionably suitable [yellow], or not suitable [red] for young audiences, and then ranked individually from best to worst. PTC ratings are based on an objective quantitative and qualitative analysis of the frequency and explicitness of foul language, sexual content, and violence present in each series. The PTC also takes into consideration time slot, target audience, themes and plotlines of each program it rates.

The 2008 Parents Television Council Ratings of the Top 20 Most Popular Prime Time Broadcast TV Shows Watched by Children Ages 2-17:

Most Suitable
(Green Light Shows Ranked from Best to Worst)
1. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays

2. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Fox/8:00 p.m. ET Fridays

3. Don’t Forget the Lyrics
Fox/9:00 p.m. ET Fridays

4. Deal or No Deal
NBC/9:00 p.m. ET Wednesdays and Fridays

5. NBC Sunday Night Football
NBC/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays

6. American Idol
Fox/Returning Spring ‘09

Questionably Suitable
(Yellow Light Shows Ranked from Best to Worst)

7. Dancing with the Stars
ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Mondays, 9:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays

8. So You Think You Can Dance
Fox/Returning Spring ‘09

9. America’s Got Talent
NBC/Returning Summer ‘09

10. Amazing Race
CBS/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays

11. Survivor
CBS/8:00 p.m. ET Thursdays

12. King of the Hill
Fox/8:30 p.m. ET Sundays

13. The Simpsons
Fox/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays

14. American Gladiator
NBC/Returning Summer ‘09

Not Suitable
(Red Light Shows Ranked from Best to Worst)

15. Hell’s Kitchen
Fox/Returning Spring ‘09

16. House
Fox/8:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays

17. Heroes
NBC/9:00 p.m. ET Mondays

18. Moment of Truth
Fox/Returning Spring ‘09

19. American Dad
Fox/9:30 p.m. ET Sundays

20. Family Guy
Fox/9:00 p.m. ET Sundays

To read the expanded reviews of these shows, please visit

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