They watch 'West Wing.'
Biggest-buck viewers, tailed by 'Blue' and 'L&O'
By Gabriel Spitzer
Thank goodness for big money in politics.
Or at least that’s what NBC and its advertisers must be thinking. It turns out that NBC’s political drama "The West Wing" is the only primetime show on television whose viewers’ average household income is above $70,000.
A new study released by TN Media, comparing the median household incomes of viewers 25-54, finds that NBC has the richest viewers around, with an average median income of $63,300. NBC has 20 regular series whose viewers ages 25-54 earn a median income over $60,000, tops among all broadcast networks.
ABC has just seven series with median incomes above $60,000 and an average median income of $58,500. CBS comes in at a close third, with an average of $57,700 and six shows in the $60,000 median-income bracket.
The WB and UPN have the lowest average median incomes, with $46,200 and $43,400, respectively. The study’s lowest income bracket, $30,000-$40,000, is packed with netlet fare, including "WWF Smackdown," "Girlfriends," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Jamie Foxx Show," "The Parkers," "The PJs" and "Moesha."
The upscale programs, with median incomes in the $65,000-$70,000 range, are heavy on the dramas, including "NYPD Blue," "Law and Order," "Law and Order: SVU," "E.R." and "The Practice."
The reality shows are a mixed bag. "Survivor 2" and "The Mole" fare best, with medians between $60,000 and $65,000. "Temptation Island" follows, in the $55,000-$60,000 range, along with, ironically perhaps, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." "Popstars" scores the lowest among reality shows with a median income in the $50,000-$55,000 bracket.
Movie nights tend to be bunched up in the middle. ABC’s Monday movie, NBC’s Sunday movie and CBS’s Sunday movie all fall between $55,000 and $60,000. CBS’s Wednesday movie has a median between $50,000 and $55,000, while Fox’s Thursday movie lags behind with $40,000-$45,000.
On basic cable the news and financial networks hold the richest viewers.
In primetime, Fox News and CNN top the list with a median audience income over $70,000 for viewers 25-54. MSNBC and Bravo follow with medians between $60,000 and $70,000.
Also above $60,000 in primetime are CNBC, HGTV, ESPN, E!, the History Channel and the Food Network.
For full-day viewership, CNBC and Fox News have the most affluent viewers, both in the $60,000-$70,000 range.
The general-interest cable networks tend to sit lower on the spectrum. USA, TNT, Lifetime and TNN all have medians between $45,000 and $50,000 over the full day. TBS and WGN fall in the lowest bracket, under $40,000.
Predictably, syndicated programs have fewer upscale viewers.
Entertainment-news magazines fare relatively well. Only "Access Hollywood" has a median income above $60,000. "Entertainment Tonight," "Extra," "Seinfeld," "Access Hollywood" [weekend], "Live with Regis and Kelly," "Martha Stewart" [weekend] and "Ebert and Roeper" all have medians between $55,000 and $60,000.
May 14, 2001© 2001 Media Life
-Gabriel Spitzer is a staff writer for Media Life.