TV viewers: Gray and getting grayer
Median age for the Big Four networks is up 0.6 years this fall
October 24, 2013
Ratings are on the decline, but there’s one thing that keeps rising for the broadcast networks: Their median age.
This fall the Big Four are older than ever, with a median age of 53.9 years, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Horizon Media.
That’s a jump of 0.6 years compared to this time last year, with only one network, ABC, seeing a year-to-year decline.
Fox remains the youngest network with a median age of 49.6. That’s the closest it’s ever been to 50, and it’s up 2.4 years from last fall, the second-biggest jump for any network.
Some of the gain is due to the higher median age for this year’s League Championship Series, which rose from 54.6 last year to 55 this year.
NBC is the second-youngest network with a median age of 50.6, up 2.7 from last year. That reflects in part the cancellation of “The Office,” the network’s youngest-skewing show last year with a median age of 38.1.
ABC is the second-oldest channel with a median age of 54 years. That is down from 55.2 last year, the only network to fall.
CBS is still, as always, the oldest network, with a median age of 58.2, up from 57.9 last year.
CBS has six of the seven oldest-skewing shows on broadcast, including “Blue Bloods,” the very oldest with a median age of 62.8 years.
The only other broadcast show with a median age above 62 is ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” at a 62.1.
“Stars” is responsible for some of ABC’s decline in median age. Last year the show aired for three hours each week. This year it airs for only two, reducing ABC’s median age. The network’s second-oldest show, “Last Man Standing,” has a median age that’s more than five years younger, at 57.
ABC also has three young-skewing new shows that are pulling down its median age. The new drama “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is its youngest show with a median age of 45.1.
New comedies “Super Fun Night” (46.9 years) and “The Goldbergs” (47.6) also skew young. By comparison, ABC’s youngest-skewing new show last year, “The Neighbors,” had a median age of 48.9.
This year’s oldest-skewing new show on broadcast is NBC’s “Ironside” at 58.9. The drama was canceled after three episodes due to low ratings.
Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which was just picked up for a full season, is the youngest new show on broadcast with a median age of 41.4.
Fox has the 11 youngest-skewing series on broadcast this fall, including the very youngest, “American Dad,” with a median age of 32.1.
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