Publication Type: Paper (prepared oral presentation)Abstract: In this paper we explore the effect of entertainment television on citizens political understanding and performance in the United States, the Netherlands and Greece. In this comparative study, we are particularly interested in the concept of civic competence, the ability of citizens to perform their civic duties and understand the political world. Our earlier research in the United States shows that TV dramas are rich environments for raising citizens understanding of politics as they contain significant amounts of political content (Graber 2006). In this paper, we ask whether political messages of American TV dramas carry a uniform meaning across different political cultures. How do viewers in countries of north and south Europe understand political debates and issues that are addressed in TV dramas that are imported? Do they separate fiction from fact, and how does the content of the shows influence their political learning? We argue that television dramas play an important role in the understanding of politics because people understand the world through stories. Television extends the boundaries of story telling beyond regional borders, providing common frames of reference to millions of people around the globe. Here we present the analysis of our interview data from the United States, the Netherlands and Greece and assess the impact of TV drama exposure on the viewers political knowledge and complexity of political reasoning.