Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gender in TV Ratings - Procedural/Crime Dramas


3. Mythbuster: Procedurals/crime shows pretty much don't ever skew male. You can bank on right around a 60 female/40 male split.

It's a misconception that I see a lot - people assume that because there are dead bodies and men doing investigating that it's something that mostly macho men would be interested in. Not the case.

Life 49% male
Southland 45% male
Lie to Me 45% male
L&O 45% male
NCIS 42% male
Unusuals 42% male
C.Minds 42% male
CSI 41% male
CSI: Miami 41% male
CSI:NY 41% male
Mentalist 41% male
Numb3rs 39% male
Eleventh 39% male
WAT 38% male
Cold Case 38% male
Castle 36% male
Bones 36% male
Flashpoint 34% male
SVU 33% male

There are some case-of-the-week shows in the serialized that would fit right in on this list, like House (44%), Life on Mars (44%), and Medium (37%), but I decided basically to just go with non-genre crime dramas. The consistency in this group is really staggering, and even among this group, there's some gray area on the edges. Castle and Bones are both pretty "shippy" and light as crime shows go. Southland's grittiness and Life's conspiracy serial storyline keep those shows on the high end of the male count. But for the most part, the variation won't be significant. With very few exceptions, a crime drama will fall within 5% of the 60 female / 40 male plateau. It's quite amazing that all three CSIs plus the big CBS stars on Tuesday and Wednesday are within one percentage point.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a huge procedural watcher. But here's the deal with procedurals, in terms of gender: they're going to give you a very predictable, very normal audience. The audience you get is very close to the average audience that watches primetime TV. Both in males and in females, you can rely on decent but not chart-topping. If you remember my M18-49 and W18-49 top 10 charts from the first post, there was very little crime presence. The top-rated M18-49 draws were CSI and NCIS, tied for 16th, and they were the only ones in the top 20. Among W18-49, SVU is on the list at 7th, but then only Mentalist at 16th and NCIS at 19th in the top 20. So there are ceilings when you greenlight procedurals, because it's unlikely that you'll do much better than CBS did with The Mentalist this year. There's certainly nothing wrong with being 16th/19th as NCIS is, but compared to shows like 24 (8th in M18-49) and Private Practice (9th in W18-49), which aren't exactly smash successes in the entire demo, you're not swinging for the fences.

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