“Scandal” is the most watched show in prime-time TV among black viewers.
It makes sense — since Black Twitter helped in promotion of the show by virally discussing it during each episode.
Nielsen data reports the political drama averages in about 3.6 black viewers a week.
Black women see a strong representation of themselves on TV in a lead role.
“I think black viewers, especially black female viewers, often respond well to seeing someone who looks like them in a starring role on a TV series,” Eric Deggans, a NPR television critic said.
“Because black women make so many purchasing decisions in black households, they are an important group for advertisers to target as well. And because Scandal is considered a mainstream hit, I also think it means a lot to black viewers to see that a show starring a black woman can be successful in the mainstream of show business, outside the specialized world where shows targeted to black viewers often live.”
Kevin Thompson, a journalist at the Palm Beach Post agreed.
“Black audiences aren’t used to seeing such a fierce, take-charge character who looks like them on television,” Thompson said. “Olivia Pope is the ideal for so many black women, a successful career woman who not didn’t just reach the so-called ‘glass ceiling,’ but smashed through it. The beauty of Olivia is that Kerry Washington has made her a three-dimensional character, a woman who also has tremendous flaws.”
But who wouldn’t love heart-pounding, thrilling political drama? Deggans said, the success of “Scandal” success is a sign to black viewers that their sensibilities can lead a hit show among many audiences. And that’s a powerful message in a fragmented media world.
“Best believe, the 10 P.M. hour on Thursday night is pure fandemonium — all gut grip and heart-racing adrenaline,” Denene Millner wrote for the November issue of Essence magazine.
Millner continued with the drama basically testing Pope in every moral (commandments are broken) type of way. The shows has lies, deceit, sex, murder and secrets.
She continued to write, “And, good God, dramatically, hopelessly doomed love, tangled in a web of politics and power and race so gripping that a nation of self-professed Gladiators watch raptly as the spectacle plays itself out in 8.5 million amphitheaters — aka living rooms — at the appointed hour each week.
“That’s Scandal time. . . “
But Scandal has critics too (like anything else popular). Clarence Page, who’s a columnist for Chicago Tribune doesn’t think the show imitates real life, just paranoia.
” ‘Scandal’ is one of the highest rated shows on TV precisely because it is so far removed from reality,” Page wrote. “I had high hopes when the show, created by Shonda Rhimes, launched star Kerry Washington as a Washington fixer based loosely on the real-life Judy Smith, an adviser to the show. Unfortunately the show’s story lines have begun to pile on just about every paranoid fever dream that the Internet ever produced. Needless to say, the audience has mushroomed. . . .”
Nevertheless, “Scandal” ranked in at number four for most talked about shows via social media. And although, the show brings in more 9 million viewers and is popular across demographics, it didn’t crack the Nielson’s top 10 TV lists.