Smith, S.L., Nathanson, A.I., & Wilson, B. (2002). Prime-time television: Assessing violence during the most popular viewing hours. Journal of Communication, 52 (1), 84-111.

Abstract: Examined the prevalence and context of violence in prime-time television programming. 2,757 television programs broadcast in the Los Angeles area during the period October 1995 through June 1996 were assessed for the prevalence, concentration, and rate of violence. Results show that, regardless of the time of day, viewers were likely to encounter violence in approximately 67% of programs. Viewers were not more likely to encounter violence during prime time. However, prime-time violence often featured human perpetrators using guns to commit realistic violence. Compared to other parts of the day, prime-time violence was more graphic, contained less humor, and was less likely to feature unrealistically low levels of harm. Specific channel types and genres featured potentially harmful depictions of violence during prime time. Broadcast network and basic cable were the most problematic channel types, and reality television was the most problematic genre. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)