Too Old For Your Favorite Show?

Thanks for Mandy for sending this in, and to JanetMG for mentioning it on the board – sorry for the delay in getting this one up!

Too Old for Your Favorite Show?
Viewer Median Age of Prime-Time Broadcast Series

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 3, 2000; Page C07

Holy moly! It’s a new millennium. We’re getting so old!

That’s how suits at several of the broadcast networks are talking behind closed doors. Not about themselves, of course they’ve all been 39 for years. What they’re talking about is their programming.

Especially at NBC — the network that doesn’t even mention anyone over 49 in its weekly ratings assessment. The median age of its viewers is now 45, which means NBC’s getting pretty close to oblivion by its own accounting. Plus, the network’s audience is about five years older than it was two years ago — which means it’s aging at more than twice the rate of the rest of us. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

The reason for NBC’s rapid aging is that this season’s new dramas — and all of those “Datelines” — have viewer median ages over 45. Maybe it’s time to whack some of those “Datelines.”

Despite its best efforts to young-up its schedule, CBS is, in fact, skewing its oldest since at least 1993. This year’s audience is actually older than last year’s median age of 52. CBS has no shows that skew under 30 years — but then, neither does ABC or NBC — and 20 shows that skew 50-plus.

ABC is frozen in time, with the same median age as last season, as is Fox. WB is still the baby of the bunch, though it put on about two years versus last season.

But UPN is the big winner so far, having found the fountain of youth. UPN grew nearly six years younger this season versus last, thanks largely to “WWF Smackdown!,” which appeals to the juvenile delinquent in many of us.

As a public service, The TV Column has provided a list of the viewer median ages for the broadcast networks’ prime-time series. Check your faves and see if it’s time for you to grow up.

Program: Roswell
Network: WB
Median Age: 27.2

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