Advertisers have to like ABC’s Modern Family. The popular Emmy winner is, season to date, the regularly scheduled broadcast primetime series whose audience boasts the highest median income, at $78,600.
The median income audience list, compiled by media agency Carat, offers up lots of surprises, along with suggesting at least one reason why some very low-rated series might be being kept on the air by their networks, and why advertisers spread the wealth among them.
Right behind Modern Family in second and third place among the series with the highest median income audiences are Fox sitcoms New Girl at $74,100 and The Mindy Project at $71,300. Modern Family is averaging 10.4 million viewers and a 3.7 18-49 demo rating, New Girl is averaging 3.7 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating, while Mindy is averaging 2.8 million viewers and a 1.4. The two lower-rated Fox sitcoms can be attractive options for marketers that want to reach upscale consumers.
Other primetime broadcast series with a mix of paltry ratings and high median income audiences are NBC’s Parks and Recreation and Parenthood and Fox’s Glee and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those series (with the exception of Parenthood) have higher median income audiences than the NBC freshman hit The Blacklist, which is averaging 11 million viewers and a 3.1 18-49 demo rating, while ranking seventh on the list.
Parks and Recreation, which is averaging 3.1 million viewers and a 1.2 18-49 rating, is fifth-highest on the list, with a median age income audience of $67,800. Glee, which is averaging 4.4 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating, is sixth with a median age income of $67,700. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, averaging 3.6 million viewers and a 1.5 in the demo, is seventh with an audience income of $67,200. Parenthood, averaging 4 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating, is 10th with an audience income of $66,300.
Also making the top 10: CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, ranking fourth, with a median audience income of $69,500, and ABC’s freshman sitcom Super Fun Night, with a median income of $66,800, placing it ninth.
Missing in Action
What’s missing, of course, are lots of broadcast’s most-watched primetime series, which did not rank among the top of the highest median income audience list.
While How I Met Your Mother is averaging a solid 8.2 million viewers and a 3.2 demo rating, it is not as popular an audience destination as CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, the most-watched comedy on television. But Big Bang, which is averaging 17.3 million viewers and a 4.9 demo rating, is ranked 17th on this list with a median audience income of $65,200.
Another show that has been losing viewers since its premiere, but which ABC gave a full-season order to, is freshman comedy The Goldbergs, with 5.7 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating. The series just missed the top 10, ranking 11th with a median audience income of $66,200. ABC also gave a full-season order to low-rated freshman series Trophy Wife (4.5 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating), but it is 23rd on the median income list averaging $63,000.
The Michael J. Fox Show on NBC is another ratings-challenged series that the network will keep on all season. It is averaging 4.4 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating, but its median income is $64,600, placing it 22nd on the list.
Pro and college football telecasts also draw higher income audiences. ABC’s Saturday night college football is 12th on the list with an audience median income of $65,600, while NBC’s Sunday Night Football is 14th with a median income of $65,400.
ABC’s Saturday night college games are averaging only 5.9 million viewers and a 1.8 demo rating, making them a good target buy for marketers looking to reach a more upscale audience at a lower CPM. NBC’s SNF is very pricey for marketers since it is the most-watched program each week in primetime, averaging 22.2 million viewers and an 8.3 demo rating.
NBC’s Monday version of The Voice is averaging 13.2 million viewers and a 4.3 demo rating and is 27th on the list with a median income of $63,300. ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which just completed its fall season, averaged 13.3 million viewers and a 2.0 demo rating and is 81st on the list with a median income audience of $52,600.
Behind How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory on the median income list among CBS shows is reality series The Amazing Race, which is averaging 8.8 million viewers and a 2.0 demo rating and is 20th with a median income of $64,900.
CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, which is having a solid season so far averaging 13.2 million viewers and a 2.3 demo rating, is 32nd with a median income of $62,200. Other CBS series that are among the most-watched in primetime are further down the income list. NCIS, the most-watched scripted series on television, averaging 19.3 million viewers and a 3.1 demo rating, is 58th on the median income list with its audience income at $56,200. NCIS: Los Angeles, which is averaging 15 million viewers and a 2.6 demo rating, is 72nd on the list with a median income of $54,400. And Criminal Minds, which is averaging 11.1 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating, is 75th with a median income of $53,900.
The highest-ranked CW series is America’s Next Top Model which is ranked 61st with a median audience income of $55,700.
Ranking last on the list is Fox’s Family Guy, whose viewers have a median income of $46,700.
It’s not surprising that Fox animated series The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers and American Dad are all at the bottom of the list along with the CW shows, since they have lots of younger viewers. That said, Fox’s New Girl and The Mindy Project, which are both near the top of the income list, have median age audiences of around 36, which is not too much older than the Fox animation block viewers and younger than most of the CW series.