Data reveals the 20 most popular TV shows of 2016

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Daenerys is the queen of TV.
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HBO

“Game of Thrones” was by far the most popular show around the world in 2016, according to a new analysis from Parrot Analytics. “The Walking Dead” came in second, followed by “Pretty Little Liars” and “Westworld.”

Parrot analyzed not only ratings data (where available) but also peer-to-peer sharing, social media chatter, and other factors to estimate viewer demand for various shows. These combined measurements determine each show’s “demand expressions” per day. Though the formula is opaque, the ranking appears to be one of the best ways to compare shows across platforms and measure how popular they really are.

What other shows ruled the past year? Check out the top 20 below.


1) HBO’s “Game of Thrones” with 7.2 million demand expressions per day. People around the world were desperate to learn the fate of Jon Snow and watch the rise of Daenerys Targaryen, as the epic adaptation moved past the novels into uncharted territory.

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HBO.

2) AMC’s “The Walking Dead” with 4.7 million demand expressions per day. The shocking beginning of season 7 led to an explosion in social media interest.

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AMC

3) ABC’s “Pretty Little Liars” with 3.8 million demand expressions per day. This teen drama had a devoted following through seven seasons and its series finale in October.

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Freeform

4) HBO’s “Westworld” with 3.5 million demand expressions per day. Just what the network needs as “Game of Thrones” approaches its end. Note that this average might be inflated since the show has only been around for a few months.

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John P. Johnson/HBO

5) The CW’s “The Flash” with 3.1 million demand expressions per day. He’s the top super hero on TV, leading a list of popular DC Comics shows.

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CWTV

6) CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” with 2.9 million demand expressions per day. An unstoppable force on US TV, this nine-season-old sitcom is also hot around the world.

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CBS

7) Netflix’s “The OA” with 2.8 million demand expressions per day. WARNING: This rating is definitely inflated, since the show launched in December, and people tend to binge watch Netflix shows. Still, it’s a monumental launch that could signify the next big show.

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Netflix; Facebook

8) Netflix’s “Stranger Things” with 2.5 million demand expressions per day. This rating may be inflated too, as the show has only been around for a few months. Still, it’s another explosive launch for Netflix.

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Netflix

9) Korea’s “Running Man” with 2.4 million demand expressions per day. The variety game show is the top non-American show in the world.

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SBS

10) USA’s “Suits” with 2.4 million demand expressions per day. The playful legal drama has surprised a lot of people with its depth over six seasons.

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USA Network

11) The CW’s “Arrow” with 2.1 million demand expressions per day. The program that kicked off the new era of DC Comics shows is going strong in its fifth season.

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Liane Hentscher/ The CW

12) ABC’s “Quantico” with 2.1 million demand expressions per day. Priyanka Chopra, a Miss World winner and Bollywood star, has emerged as a global star with this FBI thriller.

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ABC/Phillipe Bosse

13) MTV’s “Teen Wolf” with 2.0 million demand expressions per day. This supernatural drama, now in its sixth season, clearly has a devoted following.

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MTV

14) Japan’s “One Piece” with 1.9 million demand expressions per day. Now in its 18th season, this is the top anime series in the world.

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“One Piece”

15) Fox’s “Gotham” with 1.9 million demand expressions per day. It’s yet another DC Comics show, this one a prequel to Batman.

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Jeff Neumann/FOX

16) The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” with 1.8 million demand expressions per day. The supernatural drama is finishing strong in its eighth and final season.

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The Vampire Diaries screencap

17) Netflix’s “Marvel’s Luke Cage” with 1.8 million demand expressions per day.

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Netflix

18) Japan’s “Naruto: Shippuden” with 1.8 million demand expressions per day.

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Naruto: Shippuden

19) History’s “Vikings” with 1.7 million demand expressions per day.

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The History Channel

20) USA’s “Mr. Robot” with 1.7 million demand expressions per day.

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USA

Bonus: The rest of the top 30

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ABC

21) ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” with 1.6 million demand expressions per day.

22) NBC’s “Friends” with 1.6 million.

23) FX’s “American Horror Story” with 1.6 million.

24) ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” with 1.6 million.

25) The CW’s “Supernatural” with 1.5 million.

26) The CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” with 1.5 million.

27) Netflix’s “House of Cards” with 1.4 million.

28) ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” with 1.4 million.

29) AMC’s “Breaking Bad” with 1.4 million.

30) HBO’s “The Night Of” with 1.4 million.

Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the demand expression numbers were per month rather than per day.