TV executives have been eagerly awaiting a new report which revealed this week that the most viewed show in the 2023 streaming charts is Suits. Suits! Oh for goodness sake! There haven’t been any new episodes of the legal drama starring Meghan Markle in more than five years.
Given that streaming takes up the biggest share of TV usage, according to Nielsen who published the report, the news is significant. It demonstrates our viewing patterns, and among other popular shows was Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory and Friends. All of these were old shows which have been licensed by the streaming platforms. Comfort viewing, you might call it.
The big upset to the streaming figures was Ted Lasso which was the most viewed original show. Its domination of the chart was all the more important because it ran on the platform with the fewest subscribers, Apple TV+. It’s the first show that doesn’t stream on Netflix to take a No 1 ranking in Nielsen’s year end charts.
Ted Lasso was such a surprise No 1 that Nielsen had to double check their figures. “We rechecked everything, and it held up,” says Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president product strategy told The Hollywood Reporter “Even though Apple TV+ didn’t have the biggest footprint, a lot of people have either watched it multiple times or they’ve had more people come into their viewing pool and watch it.”
Netflix has, until now, dominated the world of original content. With seven other titles in Nielsen’s original program top ten like The Night Agent and Ginny and Georgia, it still remains the streamer to beat. But its position is undeniably under threat.
In the years before streaming, I can remember complaining about TV repeats and longing for new shows to come along. In an entertainment world of almost limitless choice where some of the best TV ever made is to be found at just the touch of our remotes, it seems strange to me that Suits could still be in demand.
But then I am equally reassured that there are others out there who adored Ted Lasso, and managed to find their way to some of the best original content of the last three years. The good news is we have more choice than ever before, whether our preference is for old or new.