Friday, February 9, 2018

Demo-lition derby

In the rather tangled Game Show Paradise post I quoted today (see below) the writer referred to the "18-45" demo. I think he meant 18-49, the famous sweet spot that all TV shows supposedly aim for. Yes, this demo obsession has long been the target of critics and even some TV execs, but the obsession persists. ShowBuzzDaily, among many other sites, tracks every wobble in the Sacred Demo for every show. Sometimes you even get color-coding (see screenshot).

Speaking of the screenshot, you can see that Chicago P.D. was the second-most watched broadcast show on February 7. But its numbers betrayed the dreaded OLD SKEW (boo, hiss). That green "11" in Adults 50+ is not what execs want to see, according to conventional wisdom.

So what does all this have to do with game shows? You probably know the answer: ever since the 1960s TV execs have known that traditional game shows tend to skew old. And I mean really old. GSN reportedly has a median viewer age up there with the cable news networks, and that's old older oldest. I've already speculated that Buzzr's median viewer age is somewhere in the hereafter.

Funny thing, GSN doesn't seem to mind the old skew any more. Demo-chasers like Skin Wars are long gone from the schedule, which has been wall-to-wall traditional for quite a while now. In its promos GSN is even boasting that its "comfort food" game shows are designed for elderly types like moi. (Well, they don't make it quite that explicit, but the pitch is pretty obvious.)

The secret is that the entire country is getting old, especially as the baby boomers move into their seventies. And, after all, there are advertisers who want to reach aged folks like your friendly blogger. So if you can't beat the demos, why not live with them?


  1. You're right, I meant 18-49. I just threw a number out there, but that's what I meant.

  2. Who's John Davidson? Never heard of him until I saw him on a GSN promo for the Saturday Night Classics block. Still have no clue who he is though.

    1. Check the wikipedia article...

      He's got a fairly extensive background in game shows as a host and player.

    2. Great player. In my opinion he should've never hosted anything.

    3. I know Davidson hosted the first "Hollywood Squares" revival in the mid to late 80s.

  3. By the way, the guest role by the 76-year-old Mr. Davidson is one more sign that GSN is learning to live with the dreaded old skew.