Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Old, older, oldest
So it's with some trepidation that I address GSN's efforts to take a tiny bit of gray out of their elderly audience. I'm part of that elderly audience myself, and I've got plenty of gray to prove it. But today I saw this entry on Game Show Network News that gave GSN's new reality show Steampunk'd only a 35% chance of renewal, despite its extremely high (by GSN standards) viewer numbers in the exalted 18-49 demo. I couldn't resist dissenting in this comment...
Just to show how old GSN skews, this 2013 story from the New York Times notes that GSN is one of the very few cable networks with a median viewer age over 65. "The only other networks [besides Fox News] to hit 65-plus are the game show network GSN and the rural news network RFD."
So now you know why GSN is trying stuff like Skin Wars and Steampunk'd. The network is desperate to get a little younger. Traditional game shows will always skew old, but even for GSN there's a limit to how ancient an audience they can tolerate. Anyway, if Steampunk'd maintains anything like its debut 18-49 numbers, the odds for renewal are 110%.
Look, I don't watch these reality shows on GSN, because I don't watch reality shows anywhere. And at the risk of sounding like the traditionalists who regularly plaster web sites with howls about GSN's programming, I don't like the network going away from game shows. But I can understand why they're doing it. After a while, you want somebody in the audience who doesn't get lots of snail mail from the Social Security Administration.