It Takes More Than Median Age to Save or Kill a Veteran Broadcast Series - Broadcasting & Cable

It Takes More Than Median Age to Save or Kill a Veteran Broadcast Series

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Contrary to what some may believe, the median age audience
of a broadcast network TV series doesn't seem to factor in very much when
network execs ponder the fate of veteran series. Heading into the last month of
the current TV season, it appears that the oldest- and youngest-skewing broadcast
veteran primetime series—CBS drama Blue Bloods and Fox animated comedy Family Guy, respectively—will both be
renewed. Meanwhile, the second oldest-skewing series, CBS drama CSI: NY,
and the third youngest-skewing series, Fox's animated series TheCleveland Show, may get the
ax.

Blue Bloods has a median age audience of 62.5, just
ahead of CSI: NY, whose
audience averages 61.8 according to Nielsen data. On the low end, Family Guy
has a median age audience of 30.6, just a bit younger than TheCleveland Show, whose average viewer is 31.1.

The third, fourth and fifth oldest-skewing shows—ABC's Dancing
With the Stars
results show
(61.7), DancingWith the Stars (61.7) and CBS drama The Good
Wife
(61.1)—are coming back next season, but the sixth oldest, CBS freshman
drama Vegas (61) is on the bubble. The seventh oldest-skewing series,
CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes (60.7) will most certainly keep on ticking
next season, as will the eighth oldest-skewing series, CBS drama The
Mentalist
(60.2). The ninth oldest-skewing series, ABC drama Body of
Proof
(60) is on the bubble, but No. 10, CBS drama NCIS (60), is the
most-watched drama on all of television, averaging 18.6 million viewers per
week. It also averages a 3.2 18-49 rating which is tops among all broadcast
dramas in the demo.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the
second-youngest-skewing series, the Fox animated show AmericanDad
(30.8), and the fourth-youngest, Fox's Bob's Burgers (31.5), will both
be back. The fifth-youngest series, CW drama Gossip Girl (32), has ended
its series run this season, while the sixth-youngest , Fox's animated classic The
Simpsons
(33), has been renewed. The seventh youngest-skewing series, CW's The
Carrie Diaries
(33.3) is on the bubble, and the eighth youngest, CW's 90210
(33.7) also ended it series run this season.

Rounding out the top 10 youngest-skewing series, No. 9 is
Fox sitcom New Girl (34.1), which has been renewed as has been No. 10,
CW's Vampire Diaries (34.2).

Fox did renew the 11th youngest series, The
Mindy Project
(34.9), but cancelled the 12th youngest-skewing, Ben
and Kate
(38).

Broadcast dramas are usually given a little more leeway
because dramas traditionally skew older. If CBS does cancel CSI: NY,
which is still once of the most-watched dramas on TV, averaging 9.5 million
viewers a week, the cancellation would probably be because its 18-49 rating is
a 1.4. However, CBS has already renewed its other Friday night drama Blue
Bloods
, which also averages a 1.4 in the demo.

Other older-skewing shows already renewed include CBS drama NCIS:
Los Angeles
with a median age audience of 59.7, ABC drama Castle (58.7),
CBS dramas Person of Interest (58.3), CSI (57.8), Elementary (57.5), Fox' drama Bones (53.8) and Hawaii Five-0 (56.6), with Criminal
Minds
(56) on the bubble. NBC freshman drama Chicago Fire (54.1) is
also expected to be renewed.

Looking younger again, Fox has renewed musical dramedy Glee (38.9) and Raising Hope
(41.1).

The oldest-skewing comedy on broadcast television is ABC's Last
Man Standing
(56.7), followed closely by freshman comedy Malibu Country
(56.5), but those numbers are somewhat to be expected since they both air on
Friday night when more younger viewers are out.

Five CBS comedies skew older than 50: Two and a Half Men
(52.7), Mike & Molly (52.1), The Big BangTheory (51.3),
Rules of Engagement (50.8) and 2 Broke Girls (50.1). Two other
ABC sitcoms also skew over 50, The Middle (51.2) and The Neighbors
(50.6). But it should be noted that all five of the CBS sitcoms are among the
highest-rated on television, period.

Conversely, four NBC comedies that are among the youngest-skewing—Parks
and Recreation
(38.9), Community (40.4), Up All Night (42.7)
and 1600 Penn (44.4)—are also among the lowest rated.

Some other interesting facts about median age:

  • NBC's Revolution in its regular Monday
    night time period draws a median age audience of 46.8, but for repeat airings
    on Saturday nights, the median age of the audience rises to 56.2.
  • Fox's American Idol on Wednesday nights has a median age audience of
    48.7 and on Thursdays it is 49.3. NBC's The Voice on Monday nights has a
    median age audience of 45.9 and on Tuesdays has a median age audience of 46.9.
  • The oldest-skewing action competition reality series is CBS' The Amazing
    Race
    at 54.8, followed closely by Survivor at 53.6. American
    Ninja Warrior
    on NBC averages 48.7.
  • The oldest-skewing show on the traditional millennial-skewing CW is the already
    cancelled Emily Owens, M.D. (52.1), followed by on-the-bubble drama Nikita
    (50), and then freshman hit drama Arrow (49.6). Quickly cancelled
    drama Cult averaged 49.4. Freshman drama Beauty and theBeast,
    also on the bubble, has a median age viewer of 45.2.
  • ABC's Once Upon a Time (47.9) and NBC's Parenthood (48.4) and
    Revolution
    (46.8) will be the only dramas on the Big Four broadcast
    networks to return next season that have a median age audience under 50.
  • ABC's youngest-skewing comedy is Happy Endings (45.4), followed by Modern
    Family
    (46.2).

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