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Live-action TV people watch for only one reason.


General Examples

  • Whenever a starring actor from a well known TV show stars in a new show, fans of that actor's previous show will probably tune in to the new show for the star. For example, Rizzoli & Isles has a two-for-one deal: it has Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. It's plausible that most Rizzoli & Isles viewers for the first few episodes were fans of the two stars' previous shows.
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  • Many people have indicated that they only watch certain series for the sex scenes, regardless of whether a show has serious intent, excellent performances, superior writing, etc. Examples that have been directly given include Game of Thrones, Shameless (US), Skins, Orange Is the New Black, Outlander, The Affair and The Night Manager.
  • Many streaming services such as Netflix offer one month free trials. There have been countless examples of individuals who have signed up for said trial in order to simply watch one specific series, and then cancel their account.
  • Many people watch award ceremonies just for the awards that the shows they like have been nominated for.

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Networks

Specific Shows

  • Some people started watching American Horror Story: Murder House in order to catch up when they heard Zachary Quinto would make a guest appearance. He's a pissed-off ghost who is tied to the backstory of the house.
  • Many people watch American Idol in the beginning just to see the horrible no-talent singers make fools of themselves on national television and seeing the judges (especially Simon Cowell) mock them. Everything else after that is just a waste of time. The similar America's Got Talent also attracts viewers just for the ridiculous things people will do for a million dollars, though a few do end up being Crazy Enough to Work.
  • Many teenage girls tuned into the fifth and sixth episodes of American Odyssey only to see popular internet star Cameron Dallas.
  • America's Next Top Model proved it could work without Nigel Barker or "the Jays" (Miss J Alexander and Mister Jay Manuel), despite repeated social media howls to "bring them back". But when Rita Ora was chosen to host the 23rd season, the howls were deafening. Tyra Banks returned for the 24th season, and it was as though there never was a problem.
  • Many younger audiences only watch Barney & Friends episodes with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato on them. YouTube view counts are noticeably higher for their episodes (especially when they're both involved) than others, and most comments on those videos will be about them.
  • One of the best examples of all times is Baywatch, where to the fans the plot was nothing (yes, there was a plot — allegedly) and bouncing boobs on the beach in slow motion was everything. In fact, it's become something of a cliché in itself to quip that the bay wasn't what was being watched in that world, or to outright dub the show Babewatch.
  • The only reason that people still watch The Bill Engvall Show is to see a young Jennifer Lawrence.
  • A fair number of Australians only watch Carols By Candlelight for the Hallelujah Chorus.
  • There are some people who hate Crash & Bernstein but still watch to see Oana Gregory.
  • CSI episode "Targets of Obsession". Many non-CSI fans tuned in just to see Justin Bieber get killed. The Distaff Counterpart, "Turn, Turn, Turn", did the same with Taylor Swift.
  • People who watch Dark Angel only for Jensen Ackles, unfortunately often skipping Season One except for "Pollo Loco" and thus not realizing it's also good. At least it's balanced out by those who want to see Jessica Alba.
  • Dateline has been running in some form since 1992. To Catch a Predator ran for a few standalone segments between 2003 and 2007. Now go to the Dateline page and see how many tropes are about just that segment...
  • In Britain people who normally wouldn't go near an ITV costume drama gave the channel's adaptation of Doctor Thorne a go purely because of Alison Brie (playing a character who was Australian in the book but American here).
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" has an utterly preposterous motivation for the Dalek invasion — they want to use human slaves to mine out the Earth's molten core, replace it with an engine and drive the planet around space. The fact that they already have a massive invasion fleet is just one of the reasons why this is nonsense. However, in practice, this works fine — the serial was to be the return of the Daleks, who at the time had spawned a craze, and the audience couldn't care less about the Doctor and his companions and just wanted to see Daleks fighting people. Figuring out why the Daleks are invading takes up maybe three minutes of the plot and is mostly there to facilitate some scenes of the humans being enslaved and a fight scene with Dalek Cyborgs.
    • BBC America will readily admit that most of the people who subscribe to their channel are only in it for Doctor Who.
    • Series 9 ended with an epic three-part storyline that focused on grief and loss following the death of a companion, drama, angst, romance, an incredible one-hander performance by Peter Capaldi in the second chapter, the long-awaited return to Gallifrey, an unexpected rescue of the thought-to-be-dead companion and a storyline that literally went to the end of the universe. For many fans, the best part was the fact the Doctor got a new sonic screwdriver at the end of Part 3...
    • When the series 3 DVD of The Sarah Jane Adventures was released, it had a sticker that said, "David Tennant's last recorded scenes as the Doctor." Since he was only in 2 episodes of a 12 episode season, likely that little bit of advertising angered somebody (or at least those who didn't see all the media related to the episodes).
    • Another Doctor Who-related example occurred with the first episode of the spin-off Class (2016) which featured a much-ballyhooed guest appearance by Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Given that 2016 was a "gap year" for the series, and by the time Class debuted it was some 10 months since the Doctor was last on TV, plus there had been ongoing teasing as to whether the events of the Series 9 finale would be alluded to (in particular the loss of a beloved companion), many people streamed the first episode purely for the Doctor's appearance and either quickly lost interest in the show thereafter or didn't bother watching any further at all.
  • Some people watch The Electric Company (1971) just for the Spider-Man segment.
  • Aside from the obvious target of an LGBT Fanbase, Faking It drew a lot of fans from Wizards of Waverly Place for Gregg Sulkin or Selena Gomez, American Idol for Katie Stevens, and Greek, where a huge chunk of the crew is from, including showrunner Carter Covington and Senta Moses (Principal Penelope).
  • Family Matters. Many of its viewers were less interested in the Winslows than they were in whatever it was Steve Urkel was up to this week. They could have easily redubbed it The Urkel Show and the ratings probably wouldn't have been affected very much.
  • Many people have said that the only reason to watch FlashForward (2009) is John Cho.
  • Some people watched Frasier just for Eddie the dog.
  • Some claim to only watch Game of Thrones for the sex and violence. Early on a big draw of Game of Thrones was that it starred Sean Bean. By the point his character dies in the first season, everyone watching had already become invested anyway and continued to watch. Then the draw for new watchers starting with Season 2 ironically came from current watchers telling them how often main characters died in the show.
  • A lot of people watched Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything just for the episode "The Chillerz", which featured Markiplier As Himself.
  • Similarly, GLOW got a fair bit of this. Wrestling + Alison Brie + Fanservice.
  • The Great British Bake Off: There are plenty of people who just watch the show because of Mel and Sue.
  • The largest demographic of people now checking out The Green Hornet TV show are those interested in Bruce Lee's early career.
  • Hell's Kitchen is watched mostly for Gordon Ramsey finding creative ways to yell and swear at the contestants who screw up on their cooking ("IT TASTES LIKE A DONKEY'S PISS!"). The show is also watched for the drama between contestants and to see their massive egos run amuck.
  • The best-selling iCarly episode in iTunes history by far is "iGo One Direction". Most viewers got it to see the group rather than out of interest for the show.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): David Tennant as Kilgrave was considered by many to be one of the main draws of the first season, to the point that a number of viewers felt the follow-up seasons were weakened thanks to his absence.
  • Disney XD's Lab Rats: Aside from the main draw, you have the Billy Unger and Spencer Boldman fangirls, the Kelli Berglund fanboys, and the group here for Naruto's voice actress.
  • There are some Lost fans, or ex-fans, who started watching it simply because they still miss Charlie. ABC probably predicted this.
  • A lot of the momentum behind Mad Men comes from either an interest in the fashion and more "Golden Age" elements of The '60s - the other half comes from people who are just there for the hippies.
  • TNT's Major Crimes drew from two major audience sources. The first, of course, was the fanbase of the parent show The Closer. The second was this trope being invoked with regards to Major Crimes star Mary McDonnell, who gained some serious star power from her work on Battlestar Galactica (2003). In fact, this started when McDonnell first came on The Closer in its fifth season, as she'd only just left BSG at that point, but the announcement that she'd be headlining a television series again brought quite a bit more of her fanbase on board.
  • Later fans of Malcolm in the Middle only started to watch the show to see pre-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston.
  • After the First-Episode Twist spread across the Internet, a lot of viewers started watching The Mandalorian just to see "The Child", a.k.a. Baby Yoda. The character's appeal was so great that even people who had never previously been interested in Star Wars started watching just to see what all the fuss was about.
  • Miami Vice was a major invoker of this trope. The show, in its first seasons, had some really interesting comments on the criminal justice system in modern (1980s) America. It also had Don Johnson, the sleekest clothes and cars, and copious car chases and shootouts.
  • Mighty Med:
    • There are established Good Luck Charlie and A.N.T. Farm fans following Bradley Steven Perry and Jake Short to their new series, any further additions to their Estrogen Brigade, the Paris Berelc Testosterone Brigade, superhero fans, Lab Rats fans who jumped onboard after their crossover, and even a small Cozi Zuehlsdorff following.
    • Lab Rats: Elite Force, as well as crossing over the two shows, is likely to have the Brent (formerly Unger)/Perry/Short Estrogen Brigades jumping over, along with the Berglund/Berelc Testosterone Brigades.
  • A lot of fans of Monty Python merely laugh at the silliness and men dressing up as women. The intellectual and satirical references just go right over their head.
  • MythBusters. Not many care that there's more to it than Stuff Blowing Up or cute nerd girls. Or that hat Jamie always wears.
  • Critical acclaim (in the first season, anyway) or no, a good deal of the Nashville audience watches for the charms of Connie Brittonnote  and/or Hayden Panettiere (see also, in the case of the latter, Heroes). Quite a few General Hospital fans also watch mainly for Jonathan Jackson. And a weird crossover comes from the world of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, whose fans watch for Charles "Chip" Esten.
  • As the series goes on, more viewers started watching Once Upon a Time because of the Disney Animated Canon references and characters, despite the fact it originally wasn't supposed to adapt the Disney incarnations. This became most obvious when Queen Elsa showed up at the Season 3 stinger.
  • The short-lived Painkiller Jane TV series departed significantly from its source material and did not perform well enough to merit a second season, But some viewers weren't paying attention to all that: they tuned in to see Kristanna Loken have some Les Yay and Bondage Fun once a week. And near the end of the show's run, the producers seemed to catch on.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Wild Force might as well just be called Power Rangers Forever Red considering how much the other episodes are ignored. If it's not a team-up, fans just don't care about Wild Force.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder has a good chunk of fans that only watched for the return of Tommy Oliver, aka the original Green Ranger. For some it turns into Come for the X, Stay for the Y, but there are more than a few that still only watch for Tommy.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive viewers tend to skip right to "Once a Ranger", and then immediately drop the series, because of the large Hatedom, yet still want to see the two episodes featuring their favorite character(s).
    • Power Rangers Megaforce started getting this as soon as it was announced that there would be cameos from past Rangers. Never mind the Hype Backlash that ensued after the fandom found out that the 16 cameos were isolated to just four episodes, and 13 of them were indeed just cameos while 2 characters appeared entirely in repurposed stock footage. However, that didn't stop Saban Brands from invoking this trope with Jason David Frank's cameo in promos.
  • Show of hands: how many of us watched Press Your Luck merely for the Whammies?
  • Pretty Little Liars has a couple of Periphery Demographic types, people who watch it for the lesbian main character, and those who watch it because of how incredibly hot everyone on the show is (including many boys who just watch the show to see the pretty girls). And, of course, those mysterious messages the Liars are always getting.
  • Many viewers (especially fans of Ashes of Love) only watched Princess Silver for Luo Yun Xi.
  • This is the essence of the reboot for Roseanne. To read social media and YouTube feedback, the retooling, aka The Conners, did not go over well and there weren't any Roseanne-less episodes yet!
  • The final two years of Australian Talk Show Rove (previously known as Rove Live) had a segment called Kevin Rudd PM. What was just a Gag Dub of news footage spliced together of then Prime Minster Kevin Rudd as a secret agent. Looking episodes up on YouTube you'll see people saying they only watched the show for this.
  • More than one person who is less than totally invested in the art of dance has watched So You Think You Can Dance religiously to see incredibly fit, attractive, young people twist and display their bodies in next to no clothing. For that matter, people who are totally invested in the art of dance merely tolerate the extensive air time devoted to the judges' input, contestant background clips and rehearsal footage, not to mention the musical guests and virtually content-free padding during the results shows.
  • Plenty only watch the Spike Video Game Awards for the trailers and announcements.
  • Jewel Staite coming on as Dr. Jennifer Keller became a compelling reason to start watching Stargate Atlantis.
  • As Ben Browder found out by conducting a poll at his first Stargate convention, some people started watching Stargate SG-1 when Ben and Claudia joined in season 9 and others started watching Farscape after seeing Ben and Claudia on SG-1. This happens a lot with Whedonverse actors — Castle was basically marketed as "Nathan Fillion is on TV again!" and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were similarly marketed as "Summer Glau is a killer robot!"
  • Survivor has shirtless dudes, bikini-clad chicks, blindsides, shouting matches, and, especially, Jeff Probst and his catch phrases.
  • Another Peter Capaldi example: many fans of The Thick of It are in it only for his brilliant portrayal of the violently unhinged, devious, creatively profane spin doctor Malcolm Tucker.
  • A large number of fans of The Thundermans are Kira Kosarin fanboys or Jack Griffo fangirls. Others are there simply for "Thundercest" or wrestling fans who just tuned into the one episode with Chris Jericho.
  • In April, 2012, ITV premiered a 4-part Titanic mini-series to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of that ship. Around the same time, it was revealed that the next Companion for Doctor Who would be one Jenna-Louise Coleman... who happens to have a supporting role in the aforesaid Titanic mini series. Cue the YouTube clips of her scenes only.
  • Many people watched Unsolved Mysteries solely for either the segments on ghosts, aliens, and other supernatural creepiness, or the ones on murder/missing persons (despite fully admitting that these terrified them). Speaking of creepy, some people who might otherwise have skipped over the show did watch it solely for its creepily awesome music score and Robert Stack's scary voice. It's still running today, but minus nearly all of the above.
  • The 2009 remake of V has had low ratings and poor reviews, but many have agreed that Morena Baccarin's performance carries the show.
  • Victoria: Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell were the main draws for a lot of people who had otherwise little interest in a costume drama.
  • Similarly, a considerable amount of the audience for The Voice tunes in exclusively for the Foe Yay (and sometimes outright Ho Yay) between coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Note that both Adam and Blake are the only coaches who have been present for all nine seasons so far.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Who's the Boss?. Jonathan starts taking accordion lessons and Tony only wants to hear "Lady of Spain" which Jonathan's teacher hates for just this reason.
  • Similarly, for a time, people sought episodes of You Can't Do That on Television that feature a young Alanis Morissette.

Lampshade Hanging and Parodies

  • Coupling:
    • Jeff on whether a porn video has a plot:
      Well, it's kind of hard to tell isn't it 'cos you tend to fast forward if anyone's dressed.
    • On a later scene:
      Jeff: I liked (The Piano). Holly Hunter was naked for most of it.
      Sally: She was nude in one scene!
      Jeff: Depends how you watch it...
  • One sketch on The Kids in the Hall had an obviously-in-denial-about-his-sexuality man who just kept watching homoerotic parts of certain movies over and over.
  • Lampshaded in Mystery Science Theater 3000, during Godzilla Vs. Megalon. when Megalon makes his entrance.
    Crow: All right, forget everything you've seen until now. That's right, it's time for the headliner!
  • Discussed in the host's opening monologue of Saturday Night Live hosted by Jason Segel while promoting The Muppets. the Muppet stars of the film come out to say they should all be hosting the show together. Segel explains that they usually only want one of the stars of a film to host.
    Kermit: Listen, it makes perfect sense that they would pick Jason [to host], Piggy. I mean, when people go to a Muppet movie, they say: "Gee - I can't wait to see the HUMAN!"


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