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What Are Your Children Watching?

Research on sex, violence, and profanity on Television

Rating the Top 20 Most Popular Prime Time Broadcast TV Shows Watched by Children Ages 2-17

Not all children ages 2-17 watch age-appropriate programs, according to Nielsen Media Research. Television shows that might sound innocent enough, such as Family Guy or American Dad push the limits of decency with sexual innuendo and adult themes. On the other hand children also flock to TV shows with positive values, like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and American Idol.  Using its traffic-light ratings system the Parents Television Council analyzed the twenty most popular prime time broadcast shows among children ages 2-17, ranking the programs according to their suitability for young viewers.


Each series was rated as suitable [green], questionably suitable [yellow], or unsuitable [red] for young audiences, and then ranked from best to worst. It is interesting to note that every series on the "Most Suitable" list, and all but one of the series on the "Questionably Suitable" list are reality of game shows.


PTC ratings are based on an objective quantitative and qualitative analysis of the frequency and explicitness of foul language, sexual content, and violence present in each series. The PTC also takes into consideration time slot, target audience, themes and plotlines of each program it rates.


The message of this report is simple: parents must be informed when it comes to monitoring what their children watch on television. That's why the Parents Television Council produces these important studies: to provide families with critical information on television content so that they can make the appropriate decisions. (Read the full report.)


Most Suitable

(Best to Worst)

Questionably Suitable

(Best to Worst)

Not Suitable

(Best to Worst)


1. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays


2. NBC Sunday Night Football

NBC/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays


3. Deal or No Deal

NBC/8:00 p.m. ET Wednesdays and Fridays


4.  Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Fox/8:00 p.m. ET Thursdays


5.  The Singing Bee

NBC/8:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays


6.  Don’t Forget the Lyrics

Fox/9:00 p.m. ET Thursdays


7. American Idol

Fox/Returning Spring ‘08


8. Supernanny

ABC/9:00 p.m. ET Mondays


9. America’s Funniest Home Videos

ABC/7:00 p.m. ET Sundays


10. Dancing with the Stars

ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Mondays, 9:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays


11. So You Think You Can Dance

Fox/Returning Spring ‘08


12. Amazing Race

CBS/Returning Spring ‘08


13. Survivor

CBS/8:00 p.m. ET Thursdays


14. The Simpsons

Fox/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays



15. House

Fox/9:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays


16. Grey’s Anatomy

ABC/9:00 p.m. ET Thursdays


17. Heroes

NBC/9:00 p.m. ET Mondays


18. C.S.I.

CBS/9:00 p.m. ET Thursdays


19. American Dad

Fox/9:30 p.m. ET Sundays


20. Family Guy

Fox/9:00 p.m. ET Sundays



To view the full study and read the expanded reviews of these shows, Click Here.




Top 10 Best and Worst Shows for family viewing on prime time broadcast TV

The Parents Television Council - www.parentstv.org




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