We've come a long way since the days of "Howdy Doody" and vacuum tubes. Now, it's Snookie and broadband. Some American shows have gained an almost cult-like following abroad, thanks in part to the Internet and satellite technology.
In the 1980s, Europeans and others loved watching "Dallas," "Dynasty" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" [source: Pfanner].Then things changed: Foreigners weren't watching that much American television. Five or six years ago, it was hard to find any U.S. television series on the prime-time schedules in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter. In recent years, however, American television shows have become immensely popular. But, most Europeans still have a rather dim opinion of the United States [source: Pfanner].
Part of the reason might be because of what they're watching. In March 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bemoaned that U.S. television was giving people around the world a distorted view of Americans. "I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled and the women walked around in bikinis because the only TV he ever saw was Baywatch and World Wide Wrestling," she said [source: Fung].
Think what you want about the quality of American TV, but there's no disputing that some of America's No. 1 exports are its TV programming. Go to the next page to find out what some of the top American shows are, and were, overseas.