The broadcast networks are starting to respond to a demographic change, given that the median age of a broadcast TV viewer is now 54, the highest it’s ever been, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.
Two decades ago, the median age was 41. “The most-watched scripted series in the 1993-94 season was ‘Home Improvement,’ with a median viewer age of 34. Today, it’s ‘NCIS,’ with a median viewer who is 61,” the piece reports.
In response, networks are developing shows to appeal to older viewers. NBC is working on a new family comedy with Bill Cosby, who is 76. ABC is developing a show about basketball-playing friends who are in their 60s.
The CBS show "The Millers" has a cast that includes 72-year-old Beau Bridges and 62-year-old Margo Martindale, the report notes, while NBC’s "The Blacklist" centers on James Spader, who’s not exactly a sprout at 54.
The piece reports: “Confronted with these realities, the networks are aggressively making the case to advertisers that older viewers are valuable — especially the affluent and influential 55-to-64-year-olds they’re calling ‘alpha boomers.’ The 50-and-up crowd of today, they contend, is far different than the frugal and brand-loyal group that came of age during the Great Depression and World War II.”
By 2017, consumers 40 and over are expected to control about 70% of the country’s disposable income, the story notes.