In its latest report, media buyer MAGNA Global USA blamed some of the
broadcast networks' viewer erosion on a decline in family programming.
MAGNA traced that decline to 2000 or so, when, it said, the broadcast
industry came to believe that families no longer watched TV together.
At that point, 41% of TV homes had three or more TV sets, more than double
the 19% estimated in 1986, MAGNA noted.
"To keep up with multiple TV [sets] per household and more effectively
compete with cable, it was felt that programs needed to appeal to narrower
audiences," MAGNA senior vice president Steve Sternberg said, adding, "We
believe the trend toward less family fare has actually contributed to
[broadcast] network erosion."
Sternberg also noted that the category tends to be looked down on.
"Too often, the term 'family programming' is associated with kids'
programming," he said.
Sternberg then cited Survivor, American Idol, 7th
Heaven, Gilmore Girls, American Dreams, Everwood,
According to Jim and Bernie Mac as examples of family programs
that also appeal to adults.