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The politics of binge watching: Why shows like "Madam Secretary" can get you hooked on politics

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Binge-watching TV has never been easier thanks to the rise of streaming services. Netflix's pop-up asking "Are you still watching?" can feel like subtle shade at 3 a.m. after you've already consumed eight episodes in a row of "The Good Place." But according to a new study, there are benefits to binging a political show with a female lead character, behavior that's connected to increased political engagement.

The University of Alabama's Jennifer Hoewe, an assistant professor of communication, along with doctoral candidate Lindsey Sherrill, conducted a study of 218 fans (70 percent of whom were women) of three political dramas — "The Good Wife," "Scandal" and "Madam Secretary" — to test their prediction if active viewership affected political efficacy and interest. The researchers selected these shows for what they see as a more accurate depiction of women in political leadership. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

"We were really interested in looking at these particular shows because they represent something different in current political television where the main characters are women," Hoewe told Salon. "We thought these were super interesting to see if they have some influence on the audience. A lot of people........

© Salon