Hilary Johnson | September 17, 2018
Your State’s Favorite PBS Kids Show
The popularity of PBS™ kids shows spans generations. With the youngsters heading back to school, they’re also back to tuning into their before and after school favorite shows—some of which might have been your favorites, too.
Classics like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street, which have taught lessons about caring and sharing to generations of American kids, are still on the air in reruns and new episodes, and other childhood favorites live on in memes and pop culture references. Even shows with very short runs, like Zoboomafoo which only ran for two seasons from 1999-2001, maintain relevance.
We analyzed Google Trends data to see which PBS shows are talked about the most by state. Check out the map to see your state’s favorite. The show that’s the most popular in the most states might shock you.
Did You Know?
Take a Look, It’s in a Book…
The show that was the favorite of the most states, Reading Rainbow, has not run new episodes since 2006. In the early days of the show, Levar Burton juggled hosting duties with a regular cast role on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Reading Rainbow became a trending topic again in 2014 when Burton launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to bring the show to a new generation of book-loving kids. In 2016 he used some of the funding to create and release Skybrary and Skybrary school edition, online libraries of children’s lit for individuals and schools respectively. Disputes over copyright have prevented Burton from moving forward with new shows or other initiatives.
Arthur premiered on September 2, 1996. In its 21st season, it is the longest-running animated series on PBS. The show has earned more than two dozen Emmy nominations and won seven, and has new life as a source of dank reaction memes.
Just because a show is filmed in a particular state doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that state’s fave. Barney was filmed in Texas, but Texas prefers doggies to dinosaurs and loves Wishbone. Sesame Street is filmed in New York, but New Jersey and Delaware are the only states to count Sesame Street as a favorite.
Speaking of Sesame Street—it’s in its 48th season, with episodes now premiering on HBO™, making it the longest running children’s show on television, having premiered on October 5, 1970.
Pop Star Pedigree
Barney has contributed more to the pop culture landscape than just that earworm theme song—you’re humming it to yourself now, we know. Pop stars Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez got their start on the show.
Throw These States a Bone
New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, Oregon and Texas all rank in the top ten in terms of states with the largest percentage of dog ownership. The puppy love carries over to their PBS preference as well, as all of those states show affinity for PBS’s dog shows Wishbone and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Love for Animal Junction
Zoboomafoo, the fave show of four states, made a lot of impact in a short amount of time. It only aired first-run shows for two years. Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, and Washington love to monkey around, apparently.
Shows That Didn’t Make the Map
Though they weren’t the top favorites in any state, Curious George and Cyber Chase both had strong showings. Curious George is popular in New Hampshire, where creators H.A. Rey and Margret Rey have a summer cottage. Cyber Chase is popular in Idaho, which seems in contrast to the state’s outdoorsy vibe.
In order to find each state’s favorite PBS kids show, we collected a list of the most talked about kids shows since 2004. We ran that list through Google Trends for each state to find out which show they’re talking about the most.
|Alabama||Barney and Friends|
|Arkansas||Clifford the Big Red Dog|
|Florida||Barney and Friends|
|Hawaii||Barney and Friends|
|Iowa||Clifford the Big Red Dog|
|Louisiana||Barney and Friends|
|New Hampshire||Reading Rainbow|
|New Jersey||Sesame Street|
|New York||Barney and Friends|
|North Carolina||Reading Rainbow|
|North Dakota||Reading Rainbow|
|Oregon||Clifford the Big Red Dog|
|Pennsylvania||Mister Rogers' Neighborhood|
|South Carolina||Reading Rainbow|
|South Dakota||Reading Rainbow|
|Utah||Lamb Chop's Play-Along|
|Virginia||Barney and Friends|
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