How Healthy Is Primetime?

At a September 16 briefing in Washington, D.C., the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study, “How Healthy Is Prime Time?: An Analysis of Health Content in Popular Prime Time Television Programs,” co-sponsored by the Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society program. The report, available for download here, was written by USC Annenberg Associate Professor Sheila T. Murphy, PhD; Heather J. Hether, MA (ASC); and the Kaiser Family Foundations’s Victoria Rideout, MA. It examines three seasons (2004-2006) of top 10-rated primetime scripted shows to measure the prevalence and type of health content on entertainment shows. The analysis reveals that an average of six out of ten episodes (59%) had at least one health storyline.

Director of HH&S Sandra de Castro Buffington was on a discussion panel after the briefing, as was Neal Baer, MD, co-chair of HH&S’s Advisory Board and executive producer on Law & Order: SVU. Read the news release. For video and a transcript of the event, click here. Read the USA Today article about the study and other press coverage here.