'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.

  • Nick

    Alcatraz was tied for #6 with four per episode!! And Body of Proof only has 3? C’mon, it’s right in the name!!!

  • Simon Jester


    Yeah, but with Body of Proof they’re rarely generating LARGE NUMBERS of corpses. For most of the episodes, it’s one or maybe two bodies. Only the city-wide pandemic in the season finale had a large number of bodies.

  • Mike

    @Richard Steven Hack: I have no idea where these numbers came from. TVD claims an average of 18 “dead non-humans” per episode, but True Blood only gets one. At least half of the primary cast of both series are vampires, but its uncommon for one to actually get dusted. (I can’t imagine what the count for Buffy would have been…)

  • Bunk

    @Matthew Dunn
    I was wondering the same thing. Strike Back should be on that list.

    Not surprised about Spartacus, Game of Thrones, and Nikita though. All highly entertaining shows IMO. I AM suprised about The Vampire Diaries. I’ve never watched that show, but 18 dead vamps per episode!? Is that a misprint? That sounds like an action heavy show. I may need to check it out.

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