'Spartacus: Vengeance,' 'Game of Thrones' & 'Nikita' Have The Biggest Body Counts Per Episode On TV

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

May 21st, 2012

via press release:

Spartacus: Vengeance and Game of Thrones the Deadliest Shows

Funeralwise.com Releases Results of First-Ever TV Body Count Study

CHICAGO, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A Funeralwise.com study counted dead bodies on television shows to measure the role of death in popular culture. The STARZ series Spartacus: Vengeance topped all shows with an average of 25 dead bodies per episode, followed by HBO's Game of Thrones, with 14 dead bodies per episode. The 40 TV series analyzed averaged 132 dead bodies, in total, during a single week for an average of more than 3 dead bodies per episode.

The body count study was conceived by Funeralwise's managing partner, Rick Paskin, when he noticed the large number of killings occurring weekly on a popular television crime show. Seeking to better understand the public's acceptance of death as entertainment, he decided to commission the study. A network of "watchers" was assigned to count the number of dead bodies in 40 separate primetime programs on both broadcast and cable networks.

"We did not find a direct correlation between the body count and viewership, but these programs are definitely popular with the viewing audience," Paskin said. "As a funeral resource, the role of death in modern society is an interesting subject to Funeralwise. We know how difficult it is to get people to proactively plan for their funeral. There is a clear disconnect between the acceptance of death in popular culture and the acceptance of it in reality."

Key findings were:

  • The deadliest show was the STARZ series Spartacus: Vengeance, with an average of 25 dead bodies per episode. HBO's Game of Thrones was the next deadliest, with 14 dead bodies per episode.
  • The deadliest broadcast network show was The CW's Nikita, with 9 dead bodies per episode. The CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles was second deadliest, with an average of 6 dead bodies per episode.
  • CBS was the deadliest network due to having 11 shows selected for the study, by far the most of any network. Five (5) CBS shows were among the top 10 deadliest.
  • Deadliest shows for non-human creatures were The CW's The Vampire Diaries, with 18 dead vampires per episode, and AMC's The Walking Dead, with 16 dead zombies per episode.
  • The "safest" shows for humans and other creatures were ABC's Revenge, TNT's Leverage andUSA's White Collar, all of which had no dead bodies in the 8 episodes analyzed.
  • Very few funerals were shown during the programs analyzed.

The body count study was conducted during the first 4 months of 2012 and included 8 recently aired episodes of each series selected for analysis. Funeralwise emphasizes that the study was not statistically based. The shows selected for the study were judged to have content that regularly included the presence of dead bodies. Accordingly, the number of shows in the study varied from network to network.

  • Richard

    Can they do this study for Fox’s “24”? I want to see how many dead bodies appeared on those episodes.

  • Jack

    24 has also many deads per episode!

  • Matthew Dunn

    What about Strike Back? Lots of dead people there. Guess I’ll do my own counting when I watch it again.

  • DW

    and all this time , i thought it was the price is right. :)

  • Ultima

    Reminds me of this…

  • Ewaut

    Are Zombies not counted? :-D

  • Tomguy

    Since Jack Bauer retired from CTU, someone had to pick up the slack.

  • DW

    listen funerals just bring an episode to a halt and we cant have that. except for star trek 2. that was awesome.

  • Fake Me Out

    I know it’s apples & oranges, but if you like counting bodies then you should take a boo at the Schwarzenegger flick “Commando” … it starts slow but once he invades the island the dead start piling up fast and furious … guns, RPGs , mines, machetes, saw blades, axes, knives, heat pipes … you name it he kills someone with it.


    Help save Endgame and watch season 1 on Hulu

  • fearless

    Criminal Minds season 7 finale also produced a lot of body count particularly in the explosion…

  • Liz

    Raylan used to shoot people all the time on Justified, but that was more of a one-on-one thing, so the show’s overall total probably wasn’t that high.

    He seems to have backed off from the shoot-first-ask-questions-later method of law enforcement, anyway. Now he just runs over people a few times with his car.

  • Liz

    The “safest” shows for humans and other creatures were ABC’s Revenge, TNT’s Leverage andUSA’s White Collar, all of which had no dead bodies in the 8 episodes analyzed.

    So I assume they only looked at dramas, right? Because I’d be willing to bet that Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory are fairly weak in the body-count metric.

  • were123

    It would seems so, I saw no comedies listed aboved, and there are some certain comedies that does use dead bodies AKA Pushing Daisies, but maybe they are only using shows currently on TV.

  • Jack

    That’s right! In Criminal Minds dies also many people in every episode.

  • Jen

    You can see the full report of the study (including the 40 series that were evaluated) at http://www.funeralwise.com/tv-body-count-study-results. Funeralwise picked the current TV shows that were known to have deaths both human and vampire, zombie or other. Comedies were not part of this study.

  • Epic

    War is coming the next two episodes of GoT. Expect there to be even more dead bodies than previously.

  • Casey Abell

    I know this site isn’t big on non-scripted shows. But at least American Idol and The Voice and all the rest of ’em don’t feature too many dead bodies.

    Dead brains…well, that’s another issue.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    “The Vampire Diaries, with 18 dead vampires per episode”

    I call BS. I doubt they’ve had that many vampires on the entire series! We’re supposed to believe 18 vampires died on average for 22 episodes for three seasons?!

    I also am not sure about Game of Thrones’ number of 14 – unless you count battle scenes which is sort of cheating since it drives the average higher.

    Nikita with nine I can believe since there’s usually at least one shootout between the team and a group of Division or Gogol agents (or both).

    HOWEVER, note this! People who get shot are only twenty percent likely to die. Therefore not everyone who gets shot on Nikita actually ends up dead. Otherwise Division would have run out of personnel pretty damn fast given two seasons of Nikita. :-)

    “The Walking Dead, with 16 dead zombies per episode.”

    Which is why the show sucks – NOT ENOUGH ZOMBIES! And too much TALK!

  • Casey Abell

    Oh, one type of non-scripted show can pile the bodies up. That’s true crime. More than a few bodies show up on Investigation Discovery, and sometimes they’re for real, unlike the corpses on Spartacus or Nikita.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Oh, wait a minute! Did they mean the count of vampires on TVD but NOT the count of vampires who get DESTROYED?

    OK, I can buy that – there have been episodes with a LOT of vampires…and/or werewolves once Klaus got his hybrids in tow…

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