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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

TV’s most ‘impactful’ moments: 9/11, Katrina, O.J., Nielsen study says

Some of the most memorable TV moments: JFK assassination, Challenger disaster, O.J. Simpson's acquittal (AP)

These iconic scenes all gripped the nation, but nothing was as "universally impactful" as another event

TV’s most ‘impactful’ moments: 9/11, Katrina, O.J., Nielsen study says (7/11/12)

The Sept. 11th tragedy was the most powerful event in television history, according to a new study released Wednesday by Sony Electronics and Nielsen.

According to Nielsen's survey of 1,077 American adults, 9/11 was the most "universally impactful" televised moment of the last 50 years, followed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the O.J. Simpson verdict in 1995, Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986 and death of Osama bin Laden last May.

To measure impact, Nielsen and Sony combined the number of people that viewed the event live, could recall where they were and people could remember who they discussed it with--which may explain why the surreal, slow-speed chase of Simpson's white Ford Bronco on June 17, 1994 ranked higher on the list than the earthquake in Japan, Columbine High School shootings and 2010 BP oil spill.

It may also help explain why the endlessly-hyped wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 was more "impactful," according to Nielsen, than the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Here is the top 20, according to the survey:

1. September 11th tragedy (2001)

2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995)

4. The Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986)

5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)

6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994)

7. Earthquake in Japan (2011)

8. Columbine High School shooting (1999)

9. BP oil spill (2010)

10. Princess Diana's funeral (1997)

11. Death of Whitney Houston (2012)

12. Capture and execution of Saddam Hussein (2006)

13. Barack Obama's acceptance speech (2008)

14. The Royal Wedding (2011)

15. Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963)

16. Oklahoma City bombing (1995)

17. Bush/Gore election results (2000)

18. L.A. riots (1992)

19. Casey Anthony verdict (2011)

20. Funeral of John F. Kennedy (1963)

Five (bin Laden's killing, the earthquake in Japan, Casey Anthony verdict, royal wedding and death of Whitney Houston) of the top 20 most powerful moments occurred within the last two years, while JFK's assassination and funeral in 1963 were the only televised events from the 1960s and '70s. And just one from the 1980s--the Challenger disaster--registered among the 20 most resonating, TV-wise.

The survey was conducted by Nielsen in February. Sony commissioned the study, in part, to prove that despite the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter, people still watch major news events on television. "The study shows that we still turn to TV to inspire those [social media] discussions," Sony Electronics VP Brian Siegel said. (Loose translation: We should buy more TVs, preferably from Sony.)

It also showed that age and gender play a big part in what we consider "must-see" TV.

Apart from 9/11, the most highly recalled events among females were the 1997 funeral of Princess Diana, the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the 2004 finale of "Friends." Among men, the killing of bin Laden and the U.S. hockey team's 1984 Olympic win were the most "impactful" television events excluding the 2011 terror attacks.

Among women aged 18-34, the Tiger Woods cheating episode ranked highest in the scandal category, whereas President Bill Clinton affair with Monica Lewinsky had a greater effect among men in the same age range.

Men over the age of 55, meanwhile, were impacted heavily the "Thrilla in Manila" bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and Joe Namath's touchdown pass during Super Bowl III. But 18-34-year-old men said they were most "impacted" by LeBron James' decision to sign with the Miami Heat.

.POLL What was the most powerful event on TV in the past 50 years?What was the most powerful event on TV in the past 50 years?

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