Everyone knows that the broadcast networks are increasingly drawing older audiences. The median age for CBS over the past year is 55.6 years; ABC, 52.3; NBC, 49.3; and Fox, 46.2. Even the CW, the bastion for viewers 12-34, has a median age audience of 37.1.
Everyone also knows
that cable audiences are, for the most part, younger. But how much younger? A
check of Nielsen data from June 2011 to June 2012 lists the cable network
median age averages for all the programming each network has televised, not
just first-run, but for total hours.
MTV has a median age
of 23.4. ABC Family, has a median age of 27.4; E!, 34.4; FX, 38; TBS, 38.6;
Bravo, 41.6; TLC, 42.7; Discovery, 43; Food Network, 46.3; WE tv, 46.4;
A&E, 46.5; Syfy, 46.8; TNT, 49.2; History, 49.4; AMC, 49.5; Lifetime, 49.5;
and USA, 52.1.
Of course, within
those networks, there are some shows that skew younger or older than the median
age. For the most part, only the scripted dramas on networks like USA and TNT
have median ages in the range of the broadcast networks, but those series on
cable are among the most watched.
Here is a look at a
random selection of the higher-rated, most popular or most watched shows and
their median age audiences, rounded off.
MTV: Jersey Shore, 23; 16 and Pregnant, 24; Teen Mom,
ABC Family: Pretty Little Liars, 20; The Secret Life of the American Teenager,
22; Switched at Birth, 24; Melissa & Joey, 29.
E!: Kendra, 33; Keeping Up With the Kardashians, 34.
FX: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30; Archer, 31; American Horror Story, 32; Louie,
35; Wilfred, 35; Sons of Anarchy, 39; Justified,
TBS: House of Payne, 38; For Better or Worse, 39; Men
at Work, 39; Meet the Browns, 40
Bravo: Real Housewives of Atlanta, 38; Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, 41; Real Housewives of New Jersey, 42; Top Chef, 42; Bethenny Ever After, 43; Real
Housewives of Orange County, 44; Real
Housewives of New York, 45.
TLC: Cake Boss, 32; Toddlers & Tiaras, 34; 19
Kids and Counting, 39; Say Yes to the
Discovery: Sons of Guns, 37; Dirty Jobs, 41; Deadliest
Cupcake Wars, 39; Chopped, 45; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, 49.
WE tv: Braxton Family Values, 37; Bridezillas, 38.
A&E: Monster In-Laws, 44; Gene Simmons Family Jewels, 45; Storage Wars, 45.
Syfy: Ghost Hunters, 43; Lost Girl, 47; Alphas,
49; Warehouse 13, 49.
TNT: Falling Skies, 48; Franklin & Bash, 52; Dallas,
57; Rizzoli & Isles, 58; The Closer, 59.
History: Swamp People, 46; Pawn Stars, 49; American
AMC: The Walking Dead, 36; Breaking Bad, 45; The Killing, 53; Mad Men,
Lifetime: Dance Moms, 31; The Client List, 47; Army
USA: Suits, 50; Burn Notice, 52; White Collar,
52; Covert Affairs, 53; Royal Pains, 53; In Plain Sight, 55; Fairly