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[1]Home|[2]Contact Us|[3]Our Blogs|[4]Plan Login * [5]Linked In * [6]Twitter * [7]Facebook * [8]Email [9]Funeralwise Logo [10]Sign up to receive our free Word to the Wise Guides Search Funeralwise.c Search * [11]Funeral Planning * [12]Funeral Customs * [13]Funeral Etiquette * [14]Grief * [15]Find Funeral Home/Cemetery * [16]Funeral Guide * [17]Pet Loss * [18]Our Store TV Body Count Study * [19]Report of Results 2012 TV Body Count Study Results 2012 TV Body Count Study Results Published: May 21, 2012 Have you ever thought about how many people die in the TV shows you watch every week? Do you notice many funerals? Funeralwise wanted to look at the role of death in popular culture, more specifically in broadcast and cable shows. The following is the reported results after evaluating over 300 episodes that recently aired. CAPTION: Summary of TV Body Count Results 25 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. 9 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. 11 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. 18 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. 0 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. 171 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. Including non-humans, the figure rises to 171 dead bodies per week. 8 Very few funerals were shown during the programs Funeralwise.com analyzed. Of the 300+ episodes counted totaling 1,000+ dead bodies, there were only 8 instances where some type of funeral or memorial service was shown. Question What constitutes a dead body on television is not straight forward. When analyzing television programs to determine body count, watchers often had difficulty determining if a body should be included. No Correlation Many of the shows that regularly display dead bodies are popular with viewers. However, there does not appear to be a direct correlation between the number of dead bodies shown in a program and the number of viewers who watch the program. Background The idea for this study evolved from a shoot-out scene on a popular television crime show. After watching this scene, Funeralwise managing partner, Rick Paskin, commented to his wife "They kill lots of people on this show every week." That started him thinking about death as it is portrayed on television. Seeking to better understand the public's acceptance of death as entertainment, he decided to commission the study. The objective of Funeralwise.com's TV Body Count Study is to quantify the role of death in popular culture by analyzing the portrayal of dead bodies on television shows. * Do we find death entertaining? * How do portrayals of death affect the popularity of entertainment programs? * Can the acceptance of death in entertainment programming make it easier to accept the reality of our mortality? Funeralwise.com seeks to answer these and other questions about the role of death in modern society. Ideally, the results of this study will stimulate a dialogue about our view of death and how we should prepare for it. The following presents a discussion of how Funeralwise.com went about collecting data and what the data showed. Methodology For purposes of this study, Funeralwise chose to focus on television because of its popularity with all age groups. The study was designed to determine the presence of death in TV shows by counting dead bodies appearing in the shows. Forty (40) television series were selected for analysis. The study was conducted in the first 4 months of 2012 and it analyzed 8 recently aired episodes of each series. Funeralwise emphasizes that the study was not statistically based. The methodology was to simply count the number of dead bodies shown in individual episodes of popular television programs, regardless of the manner of death. The counts included both humans and non-humans (i.e. vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, undead, etc.) and funerals. The shows selected for the study were judged to have content that regularly included the presence of dead bodies. The programs included those shown on both "free" broadcast channels such as ABC, CBS, and NBC, standard cable channels such as USA and TNT, and premium channels such as HBO and Showtime. No attempt was made to balance the number of shows by network. In order to accomplish the study four key steps were necessary: 1. Select the programs to analyze Funeralwise reviewed a listing of the programs that currently air during prime time viewing hours. The programs were selected based on the content they had presented in the past. More specifically, these are programs where it is not unusual to see a dead body or someone killed. Network representation was not a major consideration, accordingly, the number of shows selected varied from network to network. Also, there was no attempt to compare the shows within the same broadcast time slots. The programs to be included in the study are shown in the table that follows. TV Series Included in the Study CAPTION: Broadcast Body of Proof (ABC) Castle (ABC) Revenge (ABC) Blue Bloods (CBS) Criminal Minds (CBS) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) CSI Miami (CBS) CSI New York (CBS) Hawaii Five-O (CBS) NCIS (CBS) NCIS Los Angeles (CBS) Person of Interest (CBS) The Mentalist (CBS) Unforgettable (CBS) Alcatraz (FOX) Bones (FOX) Fringe (FOX) Grimm (NBC) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC) Nikita (CW) The Vampire Diaries (CW) Supernatural (CW) CAPTION: Cable Breaking Bad (AMC) The Walking Dead (AMC) Flashpoint (ION) Justified (FX) Leverage (TNT) Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) Southland (TNT) The Closer (TNT) Burn Notice (USA) Covert Affairs (USA) In Plain Sight (USA) White Collar (USA) CAPTION: Premium Cable Boardwalk Empire (HBO) Game of Thrones (HBO) True Blood (HBO) Dexter (Showtime) Homeland (Showtime) Spartacus: Blood and Sand (Starz) 2. Enlist "watchers" In order to provide as much accuracy as possible, at least two watchers were planned for each series. Where there were inconsistencies in the counts, a third watcher would be assigned to confirm the counts. Watchers were provided a small stipend to compensate them for their time. To find individuals willing to take part in the study, Funeralwise posted "help wanted" advertisements on its website and Facebook page. It also posted requests for "watchers" in forums for the networks and the individual programs. Individuals from within Funeralwise.com were also recruited to help. In all 18 watchers took part in the study with most providing body counts for more than one series. 3. Count the bodies Each watcher was provided with a set of guidelines to help determine what should be included in the body count. Below are the instructions that each watcher received. What do we count? a. We count the number of dead bodies appearing in the episode. A body is counted only once even if it appears in more than one scene. b. We separately count the number of "undead" creatures such as vampires, zombies, werewolves, shape-shifters and any formerly living or human-like creatures. If you are not sure, count it and describe what it is. c. We do not count dead animals. d. We do not care how the character died and we do not need to see the character die on screen. WE are simply counting dead bodies that appear in the episode. e. We do not need confirmation that a character is dead. If characters appear to be dead and we do not subsequently learn in the episode that they survived, we'll assume they are dead. f. If a funeral is held for a dead character, we count it. Compile and analyze the results Watchers were provided with a form to complete after counting an episode. These forms were submitted electronically. Upon receipt, the counts were input into a database. As the results were being tabulated, quality control checks were conducted. Where there were inconsistencies, the watchers were requested to clarify their responses. In cases where counts could not be reconciled, a third watcher was enlisted to confirm the counts. At the completion of the data collection, all the results were tabulated and the results analyzed. Challenges As the survey progressed, Funeralwise quickly realized that it was facing some challenges. What appeared to be a relatively straightforward task, counting the number of dead bodies shown in a given television program, was not so clear after all. 1. There was a great deal of variation in how watchers interpreted what was a dead body. For some, a dead body was anyone who "appeared" to be dead based on the plot line of the program. For others, a dead body was only a dead body if it was declared to be "dead." 2. In several programs, non-humans did not display the typical indications of whether or not they may be dead. When a non-human creature is killed and then it comes back to life, should it be counted? 3. At times, body parts were discovered during the course of a program. Watchers were often unclear on whether or not this should be counted as a body. 4. Watchers differed on whether or not to count body bags and caskets when the actual body itself wasn't shown. 5. Watchers made notes of bodies appearing in crime scene photos because they were not sure if they should be counted. To overcome the challenge of exactly what to count, Funeralwise worked with watchers to ensure that their definition of a dead body matched the specifications for the study. If it was not possible to offer a clarification a third watcher was enlisted to check the body count against the applicability criteria. One challenge that was anticipated was the difficulty in lining up episodes due to the difference in the way television seasons vary. While traditional broadcast networks still roughly follow regular "season" patterns, cable channels do not. Burn Notice (USA network), for example, went on hiatus while other networks were still airing new episodes. This difficultly was overcome by using archived episodes. Results With 11 shows selected for the study, CBS was the top network in total body counts. The top 2 television series in average body counts, Starz' Spartacus: Vengeance. and HBO's Game of Thrones, are both premium cable shows and death is often portrayed very graphically. The CW was the "winner" in a couple categories. The CW's Nikita was the top in average body counts among the broadcast network shows. CW is also the leader in the non-human category due to the number of "un-dead" bodies shown in The Vampire Diaries. CAPTION: Table 1: Average Body Count by Network Network # TV Series Counted Average # Humans Average # Non-Humans CBS 11 33 0 STARZ 1 25 0 HBO 3 18 1 CW 3 13 19 FOX 3 9 1 SHOWTIME 2 7 0 TNT 4 7 0 ABC 3 5 1 AMC 2 5 16 USA 4 4 0 FX 1 3 0 NBC 2 3 1 ION 1 1 0 Note: An average number of dead bodies per episode was calculated for each television series included in the study. These averages were then totaled by network to arrive at the figures in Table 1 above. CAPTION: Table 2: Average Body Count by Series Series Name Network Humans (avg # per episode) Non-Humans (avg # per Episode) Spartacus: Vengeance STARZ 25 0 Games of Thrones HBO 13 0 Nikita CW 9 0 NCIS Los Angeles CBS 6 0 Criminal Minds CBS 5 0 Alcatraz FOX 4 0 Breaking Bad AMC 4 0 CSI CBS 4 0 Homeland SHOWTIME 4 0 CSI Miami CBS 3 0 Person of Interest CBS 3 0 Rizzoli & Isles TNT 3 0 Dexter SHOWTIME 3 0 Fringe FOX 3 1 Supernatural CW 3 1 Body of Proof ABC 3 0 Justified FX 3 0 Southland TNT 3 0 True Blood HBO 3 1 NCIS CBS 2 0 Boardwalk Empire HBO 2 0 Hawaii Five-O CBS 2 0 Castle ABC 2 0 Unforgettable CBS 2 0 Blue Bloods CBS 2 0 CSI New York CBS 2 0 In Plain Sight USA 2 0 Grimm NBC 2 1 The Mentalist CBS 2 0 Law & Order: SVU NBC 2 0 Covert Affairs USA 1 0 The Closer TNT 1 0 The Vampire Diaries CW 1 18 Bones FOX 1 0 The Walking Dead AMC 1 16 Burn Notice USA 1 0 Flashpoint ION 1 0 Revenge ABC 0 0 White Collar USA 0 0 Leverage TNT 0 0 Very few of the programs analyzed showed funerals. In fact, of the 40 programs examined, only 7 showed a funeral. In order to determine how the number of bodies shown in the programs analyzed compared with viewership, Funeralwise.com gathered information available in the public domain regarding number of viewers. This information was only available for programs shown on broadcast networks. Based on this analysis we determined that there was not a correlation between body count and program popularity. CAPTION: Graph: Viewership vs. Body Count - Broadcast Networks Broadcast Series Chart As can be seen in the graph above, the program with the lowest number of viewers, Nikita, is among one of the highest in terms of number of human dead bodies shown. The show with the highest number of viewers, NCIS, is in the middle of the pack in terms of average number of bodies shown. As a consequence, there does not seem to be a correlation between the number of dead bodies shown and the number of viewers. Conclusions It seems clear from the results of the study that Rick Paskin's original assertion "They kill lots of people on this show every week" holds true for many of the programs we watch on a regular basis. So much so that we may not even notice the dead bodies any more or be able to distinguish just exactly what constitutes a dead person in a television program. At the same time, we rarely find any closure through funerals or other memorials. While the study did not answer the question of whether or not the acceptance of death in entertainment programming makes it easier to accept the reality of our own mortality, it would seem that we do find death entertaining as evidenced by the popularity of many of the programs we analyzed. What this means to us as individuals and as a society is certainly worthy of further discussion. Funeralwise welcomes comments and thoughts of the role of death in popular culture and its impact on how people deal with death in real life. Comments can be posted on the Funeralwise Digital Dying blog about this study, [20]The Deathwashing of America Results from a Survey on TV Body Show Counts, and on the [21]Funeralwise Facebook page. CAPTION: Digital Dying Blog [22]Spartacus [23]The Deathwashing of America Results from a Survey on TV Body Show Counts CAPTION: Facebook [24]Spartacus [25]Funeralwise on Facebook [26]Find Funeralwise on Facebook [27]Sympathy Flowers IFRAME: [28]funeralwise_widget www.funeralwise.com everything you need to know about funerals [29]About Us | [30]Contact Us | [31]Privacy Policy | [32]Site Map Copyright 2011 (c) Funeralwise LLC. All Rights Reserved. References 1. http://www.funeralwise.com/ 2. http://www.funeralwise.com/contact/ 3. http://www.funeralwise.com/forums 4. https://planning.funeralwise.com/ 5. http://www.linkedin.com/company/funeralwise-com 6. http://twitter.com/Funeralwise 7. http://www.facebook.com/funeralwise 8. mailto:info@funeralwise.com 9. http://www.funeralwise.com/ 10. http://www.funeralwise.com/free-guides 11. http://www.funeralwise.com/plan/ 12. http://www.funeralwise.com/customs/ 13. http://www.funeralwise.com/etiquette/ 14. http://www.funeralwise.com/grief/ 15. http://www.funeralwise.com/finder/ 16. http://www.funeralwise.com/learn/ 17. http://www.funeralwise.com/pets/ 18. http://www.funeralwise.com/store/ 19. http://www.funeralwise.com/tv-body-count-study-results 20. http://blogs.funeralwise.com/dying/2012/05/19/the-deathwashing-of-america-results-from-a-survey-on-tv-show-body-counts/ 21. http://www.facebook.com/funeralwise 22. http://blogs.funeralwise.com/dying/2012/05/19/the-deathwashing-of-america-results-from-a-survey-on-tv-show-body-counts/ 23. http://blogs.funeralwise.com/dying/2012/05/19/the-deathwashing-of-america-results-from-a-survey-on-tv-show-body-counts/ 24. http://www.facebook.com/funeralwise 25. http://www.facebook.com/funeralwise 26. http://www.facebook.com/funeralwise 27. http://www.funeralwise.com/store 28. http://www.funeralwise.com/widgets/cost-widget.php?type=funeral-cost&position=horizontal&color=light_grey 29. http://www.funeralwise.com/about/ 30. http://www.funeralwise.com/contact/ 31. http://www.funeralwise.com/about/privacy/ 32. http://www.funeralwise.com/sitemap/

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