You thought nobody watched American Idol any more? Guess again.
According to Mashable, the reality-TV genre steadfastly maintained its stronghold on the U.S. list of most-searched television programs over the past year. In the final tally, reality shows accounted for exactly half of the spots in the top-10 list of most-searched shows.
But which TV offerings made the cut?
Topping the annual list prepared by BingTrends.com was the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, currently in its seventh season and faithfully ranking as the highest-rated comedy in both the U.S. and Canada (where it airs on CTV).
Big Bang likely gained online momentum for its current campaign following cast regular Jim Parsons’ third Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
In second place was the venerable American Idol, which fell from the number-one spot last year. The 12th season of the singing competition began last January and for the first time in the show’s history the final five contestants were all women.
Gearing up for the new season that begins next month, Idol has lost the services of judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, but Keith Urban will return for season 13 and will be joined on the judging panel by Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
In third place: The Walking Dead, AMC’s apocalyptic zombie drama that routinely garners U.S. ratings in the 15-million-viewer-plus range.
In 2013, Walking Dead fans took to the Internet and social media to research and debate such burning issues as the death of series regular Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), the invasion of Woodbury and, more recently, the gruesome beheading of the beloved character Hershel (Scott Wilson).
Coming in fourth place: Downton Abbey, the period-piece costume drama set in turn-of-the-century England and brought to American television by the public broadcaster PBS.
To date, Downton Abbey has earned the most nominations of any international TV series in Emmy history, and public interest in the show is expected to resume when it returns for its fifth season in early 2014.
Finishing fifth was HBO’s lavish fantasy drama Game of Thrones, which generated a phenomenal amount of online activity in 2013 courtesy of the episode “The Rains of Castamere” that aired last June.
The episode featured the now-infamous “Red Wedding” scene, in which the floor of a wedding feast literally ran red with blood.
In sixth place: Dancing with the Stars, still going strong for its 16th and 17th seasons in 2013 and still faithfully ranking among ABC’s highest-rated shows.
The most current DWTS campaign boasted an eclectic assortment of celebrity hoofers, including Bill Nye the Science Guy, comedian Bill Engvall and Glee star Amber Riley, who took home the coveted disco ball trophy in November.
In seventh place, NBC’s The Today Show, which first signed on way back in 1952 and still holds forth as the most-watched morning show on American network television.
Last year, Today co-host Matt Lauer conducted exclusive interviews with disgraced celebrity chef Paula Deen and billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who announced that Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flight will air on The Today Show next year.
Finishing eighth was Big Brother, the U.S. version of a popular Dutch TV concept. The show stirred up interest last season with a collection of controversial housemates, including Spencer Clawson and Andy Herren, the latter winning the 15th season top prize in September.
Ninth place was a tie between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which sort of makes sense since they’re the same show. In the end, Bachelor Sean Lowe and Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock both found true reality-TV style love.
And in tenth and final place: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, the TLC series that shined a reality spotlight on the seven-year-old beauty pageant competitor Alana (Honey Boo Boo) Thompson and her blue-collar family.
A spinoff of the reality series Toddlers & Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo was TLC’s highest-rated show in 2013 and returns for its third season next month.
Y’all come back now, hear?