Year End Review: What Drove Emotion for TV Viewers in 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we partnered with emotion measurement AI company Canvs to see what TV programming sparked the most emotional reactions on social media from viewers throughout the year. The data below covers Jan. 1 through Dec. 16.

Most Emotionally Reacted-To Non-Sports Programs

With one exception (the State of the Union), these tentpole telecasts were all about entertainers celebrating themselves:

1. Billboard Music Awards - 1,631,834 Emotional Reactions (ERs)

2. 60th Annual Grammy Awards - 1,191,452 ERs

3. The Oscars - 1,019,966 ERs

4. State of the Union 2018 - 912,074 ERs

5. Golden Globe Awards - 631,533 ERs

Viewership Deep Dive: How Some of TV’s Top Reality Series Compare

Most Emotionally Reacted-To Sports Telecasts

Sports remains a huge real-time trigger of emotion in viewers even in the age of on-demand, streaming entertainment:

1. Super Bowl LII - 2,646,992 ERs

2. NFL Football (2017-18 Season), Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots - 638,077 ERs

3. College Football National Championship (2017-18 Season), Alabama vs. Georgia - 469,001 ERs

4. 2018 NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors - 424,660 ERs

5. NFL Football (2017-18 Season), New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings - 420,403 ERs

Viewership Deep Dive: How Some of TV’s Top Comedy Series Compare

TV Characters Who Drove Lots of Emotion

When it comes to scripted TV, characters can be one of the biggest things that keep people watching week after week.

1. Wynonna Earp from Syfy’s Wynonna Earp (portrayed by Melanie Scrofano)

2. Lucifer from Fox’s Lucifer (portrayed by Tom Ellis)

3. Black Lightning from The CW’s Black Lightning (portrayed by Cress Williams)

4. The Flash from The CW’s The Flash (portrayed by Grant Gustin)

5. Rick Grimes from AMC’s The Walking Dead (portrayed by Andrew Lincoln)

Related: AMC Plans Movies Based on ‘Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes

Reality TV Personalities Who Drove Lots of Emotion

Whether watching out of love or hate, reality series — and their often larger-than-life personalities — keep people tuning in and expressing emotion.

1. Arie Luyendyk Jr. (The Bachelor)

2. Tyler Crispen (Big Brother)

3. Blake Shelton (The Voice)

4. Tyra Banks (America’s Got Talent)

5. Rayshun LaMarr (The Voice)