HBO’s Shows and the Celebrities Who Most Influence their Fans

Jun 15, 2016 | Audience Intelligence

What does late night TV’s Stephen Colbert have to do with HBO’s excellent Silicon Valley?

Some would surely say that both are funny. We are not an entertainment blog so our varying opinions there are of little consequence. Colbert has had Silicon Valley cast members as well as the show’s creators as guests on his Late Show with Stephen Colbert. So, they do share that.

But we have another connection in mind, one specific to — aw heck, let’s just go there and say exclusive to — StatSocial, the company whose website you’ve either been awesome enough to visit of your own volition, or lucky enough to stumble upon.

What we’re focusing on here is Mr. Colbert’s vaunted position as the top ranked social media Influencer among the social media fans of this particularly awesome HBO series

Show: Silicon Valley
Top Social Media Influencer: Stephen Colbert

If somehow unfamiliar, Silicon Valley is a partially satirical, partially too-accurate-for-comfort exploration of the very unique part of the world that shares the series’ title. Exploring everything from tiny start-ups to massive multi-billion dollar, multinational technology behemoths, the show takes on the various worlds of technology, but particularly those surrounding the web, with savagery and accuracy, and yet with characters you actually like and care about.

Stephen Colbert, as it turns out, is the social media influencer who finds the greatest favor among the fans of Silicon Valley. Achieving this seemingly desirable feat with only 13.57% of the program’s fans also identifying as fans of his. It would seem the fans of the HBO program are interested in an assortment of influencers of an unusually sizable breadth and quantity.

Did that make any sense to you, well let’s explain ourselves futher and we promise it will all click for you by sunrise.

Welcome to StatSocial

First off, to both the old friend and the new acquaintance, hello. You’re at StatSocial.com.

Who and/or what are we? We measure and analyze social media audiences. To some that term explains itself, to others it may already be in their vocabulary in some form. If you’re here there’s a greater than average shot that you have some idea what we’re talking about,

To us it is any group of individuals who either gravitate toward one another, or in whom it can be observed that a common trait and/or traits, are shared in a social media context.

We’ll spare you the egghead talk of definite appeal to the anthropologically minded. At the end of the day, and the beginning as well, StatSocial presents itself and sells itself quite consciously and directly as a marketing tool. One we believe essential to anyone seeking to harness the unprecedented ability social media has provided marketers to communicate directly with an audience.

An audience in our analysis needn’t consist of individuals aware of each other. They need only share a common trait or behavior of literally any sort.

The audiences with which we’re concerned — in terms of what kinds of people gravitate toward what kinds of things — are consistent, and they are knowable beyond mere demographics, geography, or even likes and dislikes (and we can get pretty esoteric with those). We can tell you what kinds of personalities these people have, with extraordinary nuance and accuracy.

Let’s start somewhere simple. Even kind of stupid. You know your audience likes cars. That’s knowledge you possess without StatSocial’s assistance.

But do you know what makes of cars. What years of those makes? And did you know that 78% of those audience members also like umbrellas? That kind of specific yet actionable insight is common in our reporting.

You could have sold that lady that car and umbrella if only you’d had StatSocial and knew what kind of cars she liked. And if only she wasn’t a painting.

We can get comical with examples, but we’ll play this one straight. Say, for some reason there was a value in your learning all there was to know about Portland Trail Blazers’ fans, ages 18–34, originating from the Austin, Texas area. We’ll tell you more than you thought possible, and it will be correct. We’ll give you their ages in much more granular terms, we’ll tell you what other teams or sports they like, and we’ll go much deeper than that. Favorite restaurants, shoes, tires. Do they play musical instruments? Is it clarinet?

And we also give you the biggies, like favorite TV shows, movies, consumer goods, sports teams, and on and on.

Something of which there are dozens included in any web based StatSocial report are a vast array of top 100 lists. Hobbies, packaged goods, movies, and on and on. Data vastly exceeding the top 100 is readily available to you, as we index data points on many topics by the tens of thousands, but right there at your fingertips you can know the top 100 this, or that.

In this case, it would be the top 100 favorite social influencers, of the TV show of your choice, readily at your disposal.

In the case of the below, just to give a taste, we provide Silicon Valley’s top 10. It might look a little like this:

click to enlarge

The percentage shown in the blue line at the top is the actual percentage of fans of the corresponding item who are also fans of the audience being analyzed, in this case Silicon Valley.

The percentage shown in the grey line is the baseline from which all our statistics are calculated by default, which is the average behavior of the global social media audience. Unless otherwise noted or requested, you can assume this is the baseline against which we’re comparing all our stats.

The metric to the far right is our “multiple” metric and it is awesome, but we’ll get into it in another entry. Or just poke around the blog. It is already explained somewhere, and explained again in detail, in entries throughout the blog.


What of the remainder of the favorite social influencers among the fans of HBO’s shows?

Show: Ballers
Top Social Media Influencer: Dwayne Johnson

When it comes to Ballers, a show about a bunch of dudes who ball — — and it’s not a double entendre like that AC/DC song — I mean, it sort of is, but it’s not about that. You can smell what the kingpin social influencer is cooking. This paragraph is flirting with disaster…


No, it’s not Emeril Lagasse. Although, good guess, Former pro-wrestler and head baller (?), who wrestled under the name “The Rock,” had a catchphrase where he’d ask the audience if they could “smell what The Rock” was cooking. If I recall correctly, the audience usually could.

Unlike Colbert not even the faintest analysis of his victory is necessary as he is the show’s star.

Mr. “The Rock” Johnson administering his finishing move, ‘The People’s Elbow,’ for which even though I hated that era or wrestling I will always give him credit as genius.

Show: Togetherness
Top Social Media Influencer: Sarah Silverman

And now we reach, as somehow seemed inevitable, the prolific Duplass brothers, inventors of “mumblecore”… maybe, if there ever was such a thing. It was in theory an indie-film non-movement from the early ’00. The name was a derisive term a critic came up with — possibly even Roger Ebert (RIP) — to make fun of a trend in movies toward no-budget, handheld video camera shot films where nothing happens. A bunch of which I think were made by the Duplass brothers.

These films all seemed to star Greta Gerwig. Except there really never was such a thing as “mumblecore,” we’re told. Or something.

They, these Duplass brothers, really do exist, though. As did their HBO series Togetherness; the top social media influencer among the fans of which is the lovely Miss Sarah Silverman.

Mark Duplass and Greta Gerwig in a movie, the title of which I refuse to find out.

I’m confused by the Duplasses. Maybe they’re edgier than I think they are. They just seemed so Sundance Channel to me, I zoned them out. And the younger brother is kinda handsome and he’s in everything.

And I’m getting too old to care about the Duplass brothers. They look like they workout, or do they?

I decidedly do not. So I won’t be writing any checks with this mouth, unless getting my ass kicked counts as cashing them.

But we love Sarah Silverman. So yay for her, and the Duplasses’ fans for liking her more than other social influencers they also like.

Shows: Last Week Today with John Oliver, Real Time with Bill Maher, Girls, and Veep.

GUESS WHO the top social influencers are on these shows? John Oliver, Bill Maher, Lena Dunham, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (all of whom get made fun of somewhere in this blog I’m sure, so I’ll spare them here).

Lena Duham in the mumblecore film Tiny Furniture, which mumbled its way right into Judd Apatow’s heart, who in turn charmed the good folks at HBO. In a way we have Apatow to thank for Kylo Ren. Make of that what you will.

The point being here — and YES, there is one — it’s not news to you nor us that their fans like them. Those shows and those individuals are virtually synonymous. So, we’ll move on.

Show: True Detective
Top Social Media Influencer: Matthew McConaughey

Life is a dream.

True Detective does choose Matthew McConaughey as its top social influencer. But a season — a baffling, terrible season — has come and gone since his time on the show. I think we can all admit how badly we missed him. Man, that first season was so good.

Show: Looking
Top Social Media Influencer: Neil Patrick Harris

Looking already has to deal with the boneheaded stigma of being “the gay show” — a label they didn’t precisely shun — did they really need to make Neil Patrick Harris their number one influencer? Throw a curveball. Mean Joe Greene (is he on Twitter?). Lyle Alzado, if he weren’t dead from a brain tumor, would have been perfect. Brian Bosworth?

One of only three shows I followed this year, I was suitably impressed. That said, I eventually did stop watching it. I never could quite tell what it wanted to be, in terms of tone. But yes like everyone else in the world I do love me some NPH. For his Hedwig alone, he can be in my top five social influencers.

Here’s the deal with Neil Patrick Harris. For years actors remained closeted — and many still do — for many reasons, but one being a fear on the part of casting directors that audiences won’t accept openly gay actors in straight roles. NPH came out, and continued to play a character on his hit sitcom that was not only straight, but a womanizer. And nobody cared. Dude had guts and broke down bigger walls than for which he gets credit.

Looking on the other hand thinks its much gutsier than it is. Maybe it will find itself in season two.

Show: Westworld
Top Social Media Influencer: Chris Pratt

Now I knew Westworld was coming to HBO. I thought it was a TV show based on the Michael Crichton novel, which had in the 70s been adapted into a film version every Gen X-er knows and loves. But when I found this is some crazy high tech cockamamie thing which uses CGI trickery to bring elements from the movies into the show as they were, well my geek heart went all a-flutter.

Yul Brynner sadly died of lung cancer in 1985. But the malfunctioning robot cowboy he played in the 1973 film — about a wild west theme park which uses animatronic robots who wind up going kaka-kookoo and wreaking all sorts of havoc (even if you’ve never seen the film, you’ve seen it parodied) — is now alive and well thanks to creepy CGI. What a wonderful world we live in.

Oh hell yes

Anyway, the top social influencer here is Chris Pratt, with a respectable 36% of fans in common. Our theory is a connection in the viewers’ minds between Crichton’s original theme park gone kooky hit book and movie being revisited — and starring no one less esteemed than Sir Anthony Hopkins — and the recent and extremely successful revival of one of Crichton’s other cautionary theme parks in Jurassic World.

Show: Game of Thrones
Top Social Media Influencer: Emma Watson

Emma Watson, who I really want to call Dame Emma Watson (as I’m sure one day we all will — whether she ever has the title bestowed upon her or not), leads the pack of influencers being followed by the fans of the jewel in HBO’s crown. I am of course speaking of a certain game, involving certain thrones. While the Harry Potter series has its violence and “adult” moments, it does seem a somewhat mismatched marriage of the genteel and the profane. But at the same time it makes perfect sense.

I know little about Emma Watson, truthfully, but it seems like Game of Thrones fans would like her. Evidently they do.

Show: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Top Social Media Influencer: Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter, and would you look at that? A puppy.

Adam Schefter is, I believe a sports writer who is believed to be funny? Is that a thing? He is a sports writer, I know that much (look, I watched Looking and Girls — although we’re both psyched about Westworld… I mean, come on!). Therefore his being Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s top social influencer probably makes sense?

These things don’t quite.

Show: The Leftovers
Top Social Media Influencer: Steve Carrrell (?)

The Leftovers, a not quite post-apocalyptic but post cataclysmic event drama starring Justin Theroux finds Steve Carrrell — who did give a good dramatic turn in the otherwise boring Foxcatcher back a year or so ago — as its number one. 28% of The Leftovers’ fans like Carrrell — as you should, he’s terrific — and that’s enough to make him the influencer with whom they have the most common fans.

Steve Carrell with Oscar on his mind, not knowing that one day he would be influencing the social media fans of HBO’s The Leftovers to such a staggering degree.

Show: Vinyl
Top Social Media Influencer: Jimmy Kimmel (?)

And Vinyl, a show produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger, the latter of whom is on social media (so why not him?), finds Jimmy Kimmel ruling its roost, with over a quarter of the fans of the overwrought dramatization of the decadence, drugs, and vice of the New York City music industry of the 1970s also enjoying a nice prank, and a good natured laugh of the sort Kimmel has been making his bread off of for many a year now.

The real New York Dolls, dramatized to a barely watchable degree in Vinyl. Here they stand in front of Gem Spa, the bodega that stands to this day, on he corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place.

So, is this entry the best demonstration of our wares? Click around, the wares are there, and you’ll comment “ah, there’s the wares.”

Many more HBO entries coming shortly. Most liberal shows? And then we’re getting into a whole Netflix thing. Keep this blog bookmarked. The coming days and weeks are going to be fun.

To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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