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What Was 2010’s Most Pirated TV Show?

It’s been an odd year for pirated TV, as US pirates fell in number but their choice of shows stayed remarkably consistent, and consistently nerdier than mainstream audience tastes. If only the Neilsen ratings reflected this Top 10…

TorrentFreak runs down the top 10 list of most torrented shows of the year, and adds this interesting fact:

TV-shows have traditionally increased in popularity on BitTorrent year after year. In 2010, however, when we look at the most downloaded titles of the year this growth seems to have levelled off a little… The massive piracy of TV-shows is mostly a reflection of the unavailability of these shows in countries outside the U.S., and a signal that TV viewing habits are changing. There is a huge interest in on-demand TV and there are millions of viewers that can potentially bring in millions of dollars in revenue. The percentage of TV-downloaders from the U.S. has steadily declined over the last years, in part thanks to alternative viewing options such as Hulu.

Wait, does this mean that The Man is actually succeeding in his fight against pirates…? That’ll be something worth paying attention to next year. In the meantime, here’s the top 10:

1. Lost
2. Heroes
3. Dexter
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. House
6. How I Met Your Mother
7. 24
8. True Blood
9. Glee
10. Family Guy


  • Sageshinigami

    The Man would be laws made by the government to shut down piracy. No, for this you can blame Hulu, which equals businesses finding a way to make money on the web. That’s the way things were supposed to be done from the start.

  • stealthwise

    Weird that all but 2 shows are network programs that most people can get for “free” (presuming that they have even basic cable). I guess it just comes down to people not wanting to buy a PVR and choosing to watch it on their own terms.

  • Hamburgerjustice

    A lot of it has to do with availability overseas. In a lot of countries these shows are shown on a delayed schedule months later, or not at all, so people grab them as soon as they air in the US. Heroes in particular was a show that was extremely popular outside of the US (apparently not enough to prevent its demise).

  • Atob

    I live in the UK and i got to like true blood. At writing this were half way through season 2 but the US has shown season 3 and yes i got a friend to download season 3 cos i couldnt wait. It is shown for free over here but as im half way through season 2 how long will i have to wait. Also the news sites give bits away so by the time we get season 3 it will be ruined.All i say is take note to ‘The man’ as you put it.

  • Talmerian

    I simply don’t download shows. They take up too much space and I can generally stream whatever I want to watch anyway.

  • Rene

    American TV shows are very popular here in Brazil, but strangely enough, our networks don’t take advantage of this fact. They usually can’t find time slots for them. Some very popular ones like LOST and 24 are shown in weird times (like, after midnight!) with at least one year’s delay in relation to the US, most simply aren’t shown in network TV.

    You got to have cable TV to watch most American TV shows, and even so there is a considerable delay, I think 6 months or more.

    That is why lots of people here resort to piracy.

    Myself, I prefer to wait for the official DVD sets. That means one year delay too, but I don’t mind. There is tons of TV shows that I like, so I always have stuff to watch while I wait the extra year. And I like to watch at my own schedule without the trouble of downloading stuff with bad subtitles.