A new Hollywood study from Project Unloaded reveals surprising new data on gun use on TV, which was drastically down in fall 2023 as compared to 2022.
- Gun use on television has shown a drastic decline this year, attributed in part to the recent strikes in the entertainment industry.
- Surprisingly, shows without guns are increasing in popularity and have higher ratings compared to shows with guns.
- This decline in gun use could be seen as a positive step towards media taking responsibility amidst ongoing debates on gun violence in the United States.
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A new Hollywood study shows a decline in gun use on television this fall, revealing some unexpected conclusions about gun use overall. Historically, guns have populated American television on everything from crime shows like The Sopranos to superhero series. Guns in media remain a highly contested topic in the American cultural milieu in relation to ongoing political debates surrounding the topic.
A new study from Project Unloaded (via Variety) reveals new data on gun use on television this year. According to the study, gun use on TV showed a drastic decline in gun use in fall 2023 as compared with fall 2022. Using four major networks in both years, the study found that there were 25 episodes that included a gun in 2022, as opposed to 15 in 2023. Project Unloaded attributed this change in part to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA labor strikes.
How The Perception of Gun Use On Television Has Changed Over Time
The SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes shaped the TV landscape this fall by putting major network shows on pause. It is for this reason, said the study, that gun use may have been so dramatically down, for it is big network shows that usually include the highest quantity of gun use. As the strikes end and major networks re-up crime shows like NCIS and FBI, it will be interesting to see how this gun data carries into 2024.
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One of the more surprising takeaways from the study was the public perception of gun use on television. Projected Unloaded looked at the ratings for shows with and without guns, and found that shows with guns won 77% of their timeslots as opposed to shows without that boasted a 96% win rate. These numbers would suggest that viewers prefer shows without guns, even if shows with guns are still fairly well-performing.
This data is surprising given the general rhetoric surrounding gun use in Hollywood. While there are a fair share of detractors of gun use on screen, the argument tends to be that gun use is highly glamorized in Hollywood film and television. Even if this is true, the Project Unloaded study shows that this romanticization is not fully working, as shows without guns are increasing in popularity from both a production and ratings standpoint. In a time when real-life gun violence is running rampant in the United States, this new study could be a hopeful win for the media’s sense of responsibility.