Hate-watching refers to the activity of watching a television show (or film) with the intention of acquiring amusement from the mockery of its content or subject. Closely related to anti-fan behaviours, viewers who partake in hate-watching derive pleasure and entertainment from a show's absurdities or failures. The act of hate-watching is premised on the audience engaging with a television text through a layer of irony. 
Relationship with anti-fan culture
Contrary to typical fan behaviour where audience members consume a television text with the intent to acquire pleasure from its contents, the pleasure anti-fans derive from a text is rooted in its inferiority. 
In a study conducted in 2005 on Television Without Pity (TWoP), a since-defunct website that hosted discussions about television shows, Gray points out the patterns of anti-fan behaviours exhibited by its users. Unlike individuals who participate in fandom culture out of love for a particular text, anti-fans engage with a text out of dislike for it. The forums hosted on Television Without Pity expressed anti-fan sentiments where users would watch a television show, often critiquing and pointing out its perceived shortcomings.
A 2012 article from The New Yorker described the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as a show people loved to hate-watch, as "it was bad in a truly spectacular way—you could learn something from it, about self-righteous TV speechifying and failed satire and the dangers of letting a brilliant showrunner like [Aaron] Sorkin run loose to settle all his grudges in fictional form".
Entertainment Weekly and other publications noted the difference between hate-watching and watching as a guilty pleasure. "You wouldn't tune in every week to hate-watch a really bad reality show — that's a guilty pleasure. Generally speaking, hate-watching requires a TV series with high ambitions and features a certain amount of aesthetic perfection".
In a Los Angeles Times article describing the complexity of effects of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's appearance on Saturday Night Live as host, writer Mary McNamara references the hate-watching phenomenon as a reason that ratings alone are not an indication of support. An article from The New York Times also pointed out the successful ratings for Trump's presidency.
On a February 2020 article, Spanish television reviewer Borja Terán described the concept of hate-watching as "audience enjoying watching shows to be able to criticize them", citing it as part of the reason behind the success of Telecinco and its reality show-based lineup (specifically mentioning Supervivientes, the nineteenth season of which had premiered the night prior to the post): "the viewer feels superior to the guinea pigs taking part in the televised competition. They feel better with themselves and evade from personal problems by spending energy torpedoing a mere entertainment they follow through a screen."
Examples of hate-watching shows
- 13 Reasons Why
- Chrisley Knows Best
- Emily in Paris
- Family Guy
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
- Game of Thrones
- House Hunters
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians
- Love Island
- Pretty Little Liars
- Say Yes to the Dress
- Singapore Social
- The Millionaire Matchmaker
- The Newsroom
- The Simpsons
- True Blood
- List of television shows considered the worst
- Quality television
- Golden Age of Television (2000s–present), where the term originated
- "APA PsycNet". psycnet.apa.org. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
- "APA PsycNet". psycnet.apa.org. Retrieved 2022-03-19.
- "APA PsycNet". psycnet.apa.org. Retrieved 2022-03-19.
- Gray, Jonathan (March 2005). "Antifandom and the Moral Text". American Behavioral Scientist. 48 (7): 840–858. doi:10.1177/0002764204273171. ISSN 0002-7642.
- Nussbaum, Emily. "Hate-Watching "Smash"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
- Are You Hurting Your Brain By "Hate-Watching" Bad Television? - GIZMODO
- Franich, Darren (August 16, 2012). "The Rise of Hate-Watching: Which TV shows do you love to despise?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- McNamara, Mary (November 27, 2015). "Why huge 'SNL' ratings won't help Donald Trump become president". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
- The futility of hate-watching Trump's coronavirus briefings - The Boston Globe
- Terán, Borja (21 February 2020). "'Hate-watching', el odio que ayuda a perpetuar éxitos televisivos". lainformacion.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- Hogan, Michael (8 October 2020). "Why hate-watching the awful Emily In Paris is killing the Netflix shows you love". The Telegraph.
- 10 TV Shows You Love To Hate Watch, If You're Anything Like Us|HuffPost
- "Embarrassing": Netflix' 'Emily in Paris' Blasted by French Critics|Hollywood Reporter
- Why Emily in Paris is 2020's Ultimate Hate Watch|Medium.com
- Emily in Paris: Darren Star's Netflix series is the hate watch we can't stop watching - Slate Magazine
- Essay: There Is No Such Thing as Hate-Watching - Cosmopolitan
- Viral Video of the Day: ‘The Simpsons’ Meet ‘Family Guy’ - The Daily Beast
- Tufekci, Zeynep. "The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
- Borrelli, Christopher (February 24, 2013). "What does hate-watching mean?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- Five Reasons We Hate Glee: Sing on That Drama Nerds!|Miami New Times
- HGTV House Hunters Hate-Watching Studies|Apartment Therapy
- Love Island: Why it's time to stop hate-watching the ITV2 show|The Independent
- ‘Soooo trashy,’ say the many hate-watching Netflix’s ‘Singapore Social’|Coconuts Singapore
- Goodman, Tim (February 5, 2013). "Tim Goodman on TV's Newest Trend: 'Hate Watching'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- Nussbaum, Emily (April 27, 2012). "Hate-Watching "Smash"". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- What does hate-watching mean? - Chicago Tribune
- Spangler, Todd (June 29, 2016). "Data Science Proves We Love to Hate-Watch TV". Variety. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- Haglund, David (December 28, 2012). "Why the Word of the Year Is Hate-Watching". Slate Magazine. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
- How to Hate Watch True Blood - Hate Watching True Blood|Esquire
- The joy of hate-watching - BBC Culture