Reality shows led in product placement in 2009, while Idol and Dancing led in the ratings

Reality shows dominated the top 10 shows in the country this year, although not in the ratings, but in product placement. The top 10 shows in the country, the only list Nielsen has released publicly so far, were led by American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, but no other reality shows cracked the top 10. And zero reality shows were on the list of most-DVRed shows.

As to shows that had the most product placement, every show except the top two, Jay Leno and WWE Raw, were reality shows. That is unsurprising, although it’s kind of amazing that anyone beat The Biggest Loser, which was number three. Here’s the full list from Time magazine:

1. The Jay Leno Show (1015 placements)
2. WWE Monday Night Raw (787)
3. The Biggest Loser (704)
4. American Idol (553)
5. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (483)
6. The Celebrity Apprentice (428)
7. Top Chef: Las Vegas (412)
8. America’s Next Top Model (380)
9. Project Runway (350)
10. Dancing With the Stars (331)

As to overall ratings, American Idol‘s results show led the list, with 14.4 percent of households watching, followed by the performance show, Dancing with the Stars‘ performance show, and then its results show (which had significantly fewer viewers so it was #5). Here are Nielsen’s lists, as reprinted by Eric Deggans, who also has the list of most-time-shifted shows and largest single telecast audiences:

2009’s Top Rated TV Series

1 American Idol-Wednesday FOX 14.4% of homes with TV
2 American Idol-Tuesday FOX 13.8
3 Dancing with the Stars ABC 12.0
4 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 11.7
5 Dancing with the Stars – Results Show ABC 9.9
6 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 9.8
7 NCIS CBS 9.4
8 NFL Regular Season L ESPN 8.8
8 Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick NBC 8.8
10 The Good Wife 8.5

Jay Leno Is #1! [Time]
Nielsen reveals most of top watched TV programs in 2009 were sports or reality shows [St. Petersburg Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.