Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gender in TV Ratings - Comedies

4. TV's most successful comedy blocks all skew young and male (or very close to it).

Why do the likes of Old Christine, Gary, Scrubs, and Better Off Ted keep coming back despite rather tepid A18-49 numbers? Well, if males are the scarcer gender and thus the gender in demand, comedy is a good route to getting them. Consider this:

Family Guy 61% male
American Dad 61% male
Simpsons 59% male
King of the Hill 57% male
Sit Down, Shut Up 55% male
Office 49% male
Ted 49% male
BBT 49% male
30 Rock 48% male
2.5 Men 48% male
P&R 48% male
Scrubs 47% male
HIMYM 47% male
Earl 47% male
Rules 46% male
Gary 43% male
Christine 42% male
According to Jim 38% male
In Motherhood 33% male
Chris 32% male
Samantha Who? 31% male
The Game 29% male
Surviving Suburbia 28% male

Fox's animation block is the most male-skewing block on television, no questions asked. The CBS and NBC blocks are both in the upper 40s along with Scrubs/Ted on ABC, while CBS Wednesday is lower, but still, right at the gender median despite being pretty old-skewing overall. Even though some of these shows are fairly "soapy" (HIMYM, Scrubs, The Office coming to mind) they still bring in the males because the males seemingly want to laugh. Now look at the six shows on the bottom of this list. All axed, all incapable of tapping into any kind of male interest. Is that a necessity to launch a successful comedy? 6 of 6 shows below the median were canned, 14 of 17 above it renewed. Coincidence? Maybe that is what ABC's doing wrong on the comedy front, and maybe that male skew is what saved Scrubs/Ted, because you've got to start somewhere. Will the two-hour ABC Wednesday block this fall find interest from the gender that, frankly, is defining successful comedy these days? Would seem to me that they'll have to at least skew as male as Christine/Gary, but, to be continued...

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