The three shows that everyone won’t stop streaming

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The Future. While a lot of marketing power is put into splashy streaming originals, the true workhorses of these platforms are long-running broadcast hits that find a new, passionate audience on streaming. But with the broadcast model getting squeezed by streaming, the platforms may be crushing the pipeline that keep subscribers from churning. To make up for it, streamers may need to reboot their economics and revive the old model of producing more episodes of hit shows at a much quicker rate.

Eternal hits
Since Nielsen started releasing its weekly top ten streaming rankings three years ago (157 weeks, to be exact), three shows have ruled them all.

  • Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, and Cocomelon have appeared for 153 weeks, 147 weeks, and 135 weeks, respectively.
  • For Grey’s and NCIS, the rankings not only represent their popularity but also the benefit of having multiple seasons with many episodes — they both have over 150 episodes and are constant staples on Netflix.
  • And when exploring the rest of Nielsen’s repeat-rankersCriminal Minds, Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, and The Big Bang Theory — it becomes clear they all follow a similar pattern.
  • When it comes to streaming originals, the biggest hits, The Crown and Stranger Things, both clocked less than 38 weeks due to limited numbers of episodes.

Oh yeah, Cocomelon. While it only has 20 hours of programming, the Moonbug-produced show has proven a hit with kids since its YouTube days. The only other series that has a shot of hitting Cocomelon’s milestones is Bluey on Disney+, which only has 19 hours of programming.

In other words, when parents find a show their kids love, they’ll replay it over and over and over again.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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