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The Reinvention of Television Networks


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#301

vb68

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Posted Aug 15, 2011 @ 11:23 PM

And, maybe in a few years, we might see a male equivalent of ABC Fam.


Isn't that basically what Spike is?
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#302

Trini Girl

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Posted Aug 20, 2011 @ 10:55 PM

And, maybe in a few years, we might see a male equivalent of ABC Fam.


Isn't that basically what Spike is?

Well, that channel definitely targets males, but it's an older audience than what I was thinking of.
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#303

vb68

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Posted Aug 31, 2011 @ 11:48 PM

Oh OK, I honestly thought it catered to young males.
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#304

The Mad Maple

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Posted Sep 4, 2011 @ 3:21 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that Disney XD is geared towards boys.
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#305

vb68

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Posted Sep 5, 2011 @ 9:19 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that Disney XD is geared towards boys.


Oh ok, now I understand. I wasn't thinking THAT young. I was thinking the teenage demo or slightly older.
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#306

Trini Girl

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Posted Sep 5, 2011 @ 9:53 PM

I was thinking the teenage demo or slightly older.

Me, too. I think TeenNick might be the closest one, even though it's more gender-balanced.

Edited by Trini Girl, Sep 5, 2011 @ 9:54 PM.

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#307

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Posted Oct 15, 2011 @ 1:19 AM

I'm thinking NBC is trying to reinvent itself as CBS, but younger. Their new sitcoms (Whitney, esp) are cut from the throwback mode of the one dimensional, punchline-driven, laugh-tracked, and familiar that previously NBC distinguished itself by NOT following. And on the drama side, they've brought on similarly unoriginal options, like Prime Suspect. I actually like Prime Suspect, but it's just a basic police procedural, and there's nothing particular about it to distinguish it from every other one on air.
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#308

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Posted Oct 15, 2011 @ 4:35 AM

Their new sitcoms (Whitney, esp) are cut from the throwback mode of the one dimensional, punchline-driven, laugh-tracked, and familiar that previously NBC distinguished itself by NOT following.

Pretty much only Whitney, from NBC. Free Agents and Up All Night were/are modern single-cam sitcoms, with all the differences that implies from multi-cams. Midseason, Bent and Best Friends Forever are single-cam. Are You There, Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, looks to not only be multi-cam but so close to repeating every bit of Whitney that one wonders if NBC forgot it was the one who bought Whitney...

And on dramas, Smash and Awake look somewhat promising. Playboy Club was a shallow grab for critical acclaim via production value and little else, but it wasn't CBS-ish. (I suspect Grimm will fall into the latter category too...)

Anyways, isn't NBC in yet another new regime? I thought Greenblatt was presiding over the last vestiges of the Silverman era this season.... OK, I looked it up; he succeeded Gaspin, who had the job for like a year total after Silverman. I think next year's new shows will more clearly lay out where NBC is going under the new ownership.
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#309

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Posted Oct 15, 2011 @ 1:33 PM

They canceled Free Agents already, and it really did strike me as a much more mainstream comedy than what NBC usually puts out. They put Whitney REPEATS in its timeslot. They are still promoting the living hell out of that show, and I'm not seeing much promotion for any of the others.

But for me, it's not just "how many cameras" but the way the writing and production is.

Up All Night is okay, I do watch it, but it has the bright colors, fast pace, and lack of subtlety and layers that you see in most mainstream sitcoms. Compare it to The Office, Parks & Rec, Community, and 30 Rock, where there are always things happening in the background, the lighting looks more normal, the sets are more realistic, the plots are less predictable, the atmosphere is more "normal people" than "fancy/fashionable," and the characters are more ensemble than star.

I'm glad to hear the mid-season shows have the potential to be otherwise. I don't know anything about those.
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#310

arc

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Posted Oct 15, 2011 @ 11:07 PM

But for me, it's not just "how many cameras" but the way the writing and production is.

Right, but Free Agents had all that stuff, or at least the potential. The very premise of it was almost as suffused with sadness as the Office (UK) and the first season or two of the Office US. And the music choices of FA were almost defiantly idiosyncratic, hardly the kind of super mainstream thing a "younger CBS type" show would go for. I really didn't think FA was very mainstream at all (and America agreed, sigh).
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#311

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Posted Oct 16, 2011 @ 2:58 PM

Anyways, isn't NBC in yet another new regime? I thought Greenblatt was presiding over the last vestiges of the Silverman era this season.... OK, I looked it up; he succeeded Gaspin, who had the job for like a year total after Silverman. I think next year's new shows will more clearly lay out where NBC is going under the new ownership.

Yes, IIRC, Smash is the only show that Greenblatt himself helped develop, and that's because he brought it over from Showtime. Everything else was mostly developed under Gaspin, although from what I've read, Greenblatt has been very gracious and stated that he had a hand in all these shows, and so if they fail, that's on him.

I'm not really sure where NBC is headed in terms of dramas. I used to think of gritty/realistic dramas like Homicide and ER when I thought of NBC, but I think Prime Suspect was trying to go for the same thing, and that's a big flop. Now what?

Compare this to ABC, who this year really seemed to embrace their female-oriented, soapy/serialized reptuation, even though it wasn't completely successful. Revenge, Pan Am, GCB, Once Upon a Time, and Scandal all fit that mold. Even Charlie's Angels and the midseason Missing have strong female appeal, in theory (or had, in the case of Charlie's Angels). The River appears to be an anomaly for them. I'm not sure what they're going to do with that show.

Edited by Redtracer, Oct 16, 2011 @ 2:58 PM.

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#312

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Posted Oct 19, 2011 @ 11:00 PM

Gavin Polone on why Netflix and Hulu's first ventures into original content won't be roses from day one. Essentially, his argument boils down to the streaming companies' lack of experience in developing original programming, and how the current TV development model (hear tons of pitches, order lots of scripts, order a decent number of pilots, order a few shows to series) works out better than the much more risky method of ordering just a few scripts and going straight to series.
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#313

Kel Varnsen

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Posted Oct 20, 2011 @ 9:02 AM

I actually like Prime Suspect, but it's just a basic police procedural, and there's nothing particular about it to distinguish it from every other one on air.


I think Prime Suspect is kind of different just in the attitude of the main character and what happens to her. I mean I can't picture Grace Park from Hawaii 5-0 or Marg Helgenberger from CSI taking the kind of beating that Maria Bello took on the first episode of Prime Suspect.
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#314

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Posted Nov 28, 2011 @ 11:01 AM

Gavin Polone on why Netflix and Hulu's first ventures into original content won't be roses from day one. Essentially, his argument boils down to the streaming companies' lack of experience in developing original programming, and how the current TV development model (hear tons of pitches, order lots of scripts, order a decent number of pilots, order a few shows to series) works out better than the much more risky method of ordering just a few scripts and going straight to series.


Effectively (as one internet pundit put it), TV networks act as venture capital firms that subsidize many shows, in hopes of making money based on the overall success of their lineup. Production companies are similar, hoping to make money from a few shows over longer timeframes than networks, and subsidizing the losers. The model that works for streaming companies will probably end up being a bit different.
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#315

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Posted Nov 28, 2011 @ 1:05 PM

If I understand correctly, that's basically how the CW stays in business. There's no way that network can turn a profit based on how much revenue it generates (very little). But because CBS and Warner Brothers are behind it, they have the ability to make enough money with their other shows to cover the fact that the CW operates at a loss. If the CW were a stand-alone entity, it would be dead in the water.

Edited by Redtracer, Nov 28, 2011 @ 1:07 PM.

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#316

MethodActor05

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Posted Sep 18, 2012 @ 5:30 PM

Speaking of the CW, it kind of seems like they're trying to go for more of a twentysomething/thirtysomething audience, given what the shows they have coming up like Arrow and Beauty and the Beast. They have the teen drama with the Carrie Diaries, but other than that, it doesn't look like a very teenaged lineup. Which makes sense- the last successful teen show that the CW launched was the Vampire Diaries in 2009. ABCFamily pretty much has the teenaged girl demographic in their corner.

Edited by MethodActor05, Sep 18, 2012 @ 5:31 PM.

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#317

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Posted Mar 31, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

An LA Weekly piece about the economics of baseball local TV contracts, which mentions cable network bundling as an aside, said that Cablevision filed suit against Viacom for the bundling practice:
http://www.laweekly....-cable-tv/full/

Cablevision is the biggest threat looming off baseball's stern. Earlier this month, the New York provider filed a federal antitrust suit against Viacom, claiming that in order to carry Comedy Central and VH1, it was forced to buy channels like Logo and Palladia as well. According to the suit, Cablevision could always reject these demands. But Viacom wanted a $1 billion penalty in exchange for any exercise of free will.

If the court rules against Viacom, cable and satellite may finally be able to offer packages to suit any price or taste. Baseball's welfare payments from non-fans will corrode. And with an audience in decline, remaining subscribers will be forced to spend that much more to compensate. Suddenly, that $200 bill could look like a going-out-of-business sale.

A dying game will be introduced to Economics 101. It won't be a pleasant encounter.


Given the amount of money at stake and how Cablevision is itself kinda related to MSG, which owns the Knicks and Rangers and holds their TV rights, I assume there will be some kind of settlement that avoids eliminating bundling. Maybe. I guess it depends on how serious Cablevision is about this.
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#318

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Posted Apr 1, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

ETA: Okay, I ranted before I read that article. It is a fantastic article that explains everything I tried to say with examples and clear as day predictions of what is going to happen.

Everybody should read it. It's five minutes of your time that explains how pay TV works.


I know a good deal about this stuff. I do not believe there will be any offers to settle anything. Viacom will fight this to the death, and given that the Viacom's of the world have won this sort of suit before, it seems unlikely they would lose this one.

As for baseball, or what would be better described as Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), I'm 100% certain that the cable and satellite companies would prefer to be allowed to sell them in sports tiers.

The problem is, in New York, there are four RSNs, Yankees, Mets, and two MSG networks. Combined, they cost the local cable companies about $10/month, which they collect from pretty much every home in the NYC area, as they are generally speaking available in the typical basic cable package.

If the cable and satellite companies could suddenly let customers pick and choose if they want those networks, and only 30% take them, the four sports networks will still need to collect the same amount of cash they were collecting before. So they'll need to up their cost per subscriber to the cable companies to a total of $33/month.

Needless to say, that's going to be one REALLY expensive sports tier, but at least everybody who doesn't want to pay for sports will see his or her bill go down by about $10 per month.

Edited by JTMacc99, Apr 1, 2013 @ 12:21 PM.

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#319

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Posted Apr 9, 2013 @ 2:22 PM

Fox is so threatened by Aereo's challenge to its cable retransmission fee income that it's considering leaving over-the-air broadcast: http://www.theverge....-undercut-aereo

executives from News Corp are warning that, if Aereo persists, Fox may pull programming off the free public airwaves and make it available only to paid cable subscribers.

[...]

The broadcasters see things very differently. According to Rich Greenfield, an analyst with broker BTIG, Aereo poses a sort of existential threat to the TV networks. Currently they charge for the advertising you see in their broadcasts but they also charge cable services, such as Time Warner Cable and AT&T, to retransmit their broadcasts. If Aereo is allowed to take broadcasts for free, the argument goes, then why won't the cable guys do the same thing?


(Aereo streams broadcast TV over the internet to subscribers - technically each subscriber has their own antenna and DVR assigned to them, so they claim they're legally not mass-retransmitting. It's a very clever technicality if nothing else.)
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#320

Actionmage

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Posted Apr 9, 2013 @ 4:40 PM

Thank you arc, for both links!

I'm pulling for Cablevision, in the hopes that a win in their favor brings us closer to a la carte cable bundles.

As for the Aereo's case, I think I am on their side if it is a simple 'the law says we don't have to pay you, Fox, so deal' situation. If Aereo is actually violating copyrights, I'd think some of the attorneys would've put that more upfront and made a bigger deal, instead of letting articles stand about the case being primarily about retransmission fees. That makes Fox sound money-grubbing, like miserly Scrooge before that certain holiday season. I tend to stick up for copyright holders, but if Aereo is transmitting without any interference (no cutting out the ads, just Fox->Aereo->3rd party), I don't really see what is freaking out the corporations. If I am misunderstanding the article, I'm open for correct info.
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#321

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Posted Apr 10, 2013 @ 10:28 AM

The FOX thing is remarkable.

That makes Fox sound money-grubbing, like miserly Scrooge before that certain holiday season.

The FOX guy pretty much said that the media companies NEED both revenue streams. They need the advertising revenue, and they need the per subscriber fee that they are currently collecting for every cable and satellite subscriber for retransmitting their over the air signal.

When the over the air broadcast networks started to collect monthly fees from us (through the cable and satellite companies) they got their cake and got to eat it too. They both had the free over the air rights from the government to send their signal into every home, and then they also got to act like a pay TV channel and collect monthly fees per subscriber for everybody with a cable or satellite service.

When somebody comes along and figures out a way to transmit their free signal into homes in a way that might take away their ability to collect the monthly fee they now enjoy, hoo boy! That's not what they want to see.

FOX could certainly become a national cable channel, and operate like FX or FOX News or any of their other properties that are in basic cable packages. And to be honest, I'm not sure if that hasn't been something they've been considering for a while now and are just using this lawsuit as an excuse to make the move.

The interesting thing I haven't seen mentioned is whether or not FOX is also planning to give back the over the air rights given to them by the government. The local affiliates that aren't owned by FOX, but rather local companies, could still operate but I'm not sure what they'd show in prime-time or on weekends when the sports currently reside.


I'm pulling for Cablevision, in the hopes that a win in their favor brings us closer to a la carte cable bundles.

It would free things up a bit, letting cable and satellite companies give us more options, but a world of pure a la carte wouldn't be a whole heck of a lot better. The FOX lawsuit helps understand that sad fact. If TV went purely a la carte, the media companies will still need to collect all of the fees they are currently collecting to keep themselves running and making TV.

That's what FOX is saying. They need both the advertising and monthly fee revenue they are currently collecting. If suddenly huge percentages of their monthly subscribers have the ability to opt out of getting their channel every month, the people who DO want to keep paying for the channel will need to pick up the slack for everybody who no longer wants to pay for it. ESPN still needs to collect $500 million per month of subscriber fees. If tons of people opt out of ESPN, the ones who elect to keep it a la carte are going to end up paying $15-$20 a month for it.
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#322

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Posted Apr 25, 2013 @ 2:45 AM

A possible off topic question. Just how many individual, distinct channels/networks in total are there when you comb through all of the various cable/over the air/premium/satellite systems, limiting it to the United States? For the purposes of the question Showtime and Showtime2 and Showtime Extreme are all counted separately as are ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNNews/ etc.
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#323

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 8:51 PM

It would free things up a bit, letting cable and satellite companies give us more options, but a world of pure a la carte wouldn't be a whole heck of a lot better. The FOX lawsuit helps understand that sad fact.

If anything, a la carte cable might seem unbearably bulky in an internet world where we could pay for individual TV shows, Amazon-style.

 

But Netflix and Spotify seem to show the mainstream market would rather rent than buy, and rent via a fixed monthly fee for whatever the service provides, so maybe the future is more likely to be a multitude of HBO Go-like services.  In which case I guess a la carte cable might still work.  Live shows (esp sports) will still matter.


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#324

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 11:23 PM

I'm only interested in two shows on HBO, so it isn't worth it to me to pay $30/month for the bundle of HBO channels.  But I would be happy to pay for access to just HBO Go.  I hope that eventually HBO and Showtime will make online access subscriptions available, but I'm sure the Dish and Cable suppliers would fight that.


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#325

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Posted May 9, 2013 @ 3:52 PM

http://www.vulture.c...cable-bill.html

 

Today, the Senator Formerly Known As Maverick introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act, a new twist on something McCain has long supported: forcing cable companies to stop "bundling" TV networks in a group, requiring fans of Lifetime and AMC to also subscribe to ESPN and Disney, even if they're childless and hate sports. The cable industry calls this "bundling," and executives have long said it's a necessary evil to ensure a broad range of cable channels and to keep overall bills lower.
 

[...]

 

As the L.A. Times' Joe Flint notes, McCain tried to get à la carte legislation passed seven years ago and failed. And it's not clear that his new bill has any more of a chance, particularly since McCain has also included other aspects likely to annoy the big broadcast networks: One provision would revoke the broadcast license of any big-city affiliates that pull their signals off the air in protest of the online-TV-streaming service Aereo, assuming Barry Diller's service is cleared legally. (The networks think Diller's device threatens their ability to get compensated by cable and satellite companies.) Another provision would make it tougher for sports teams to force blackouts of home games, but only if the team's stadium was built with government money. Basically, there's something for at least three big lobbies to hate.


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#326

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Posted Aug 11, 2013 @ 8:45 AM

Interesting New York Times roundtable with some of the most successful producers on TV on how they do their jobs in current era of TV. Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy”), Carlton Cuse (“Bates Motel” and previously “Lost”), Robert and Michelle King (“The Good Wife”), Terence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”), Scott Buck (“Dexter”) and Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”).

They talk about all sorts of aspects of their job, but my favorite quote was from Cuse when they were discussing the effect of social media.
 

[With] social media, you can create enough of a sense that you have to be there to watch it, which is something that Shonda has done well. I resorted to live-tweeting “Bates Motel” with my mother to get viewers to show up live. I have no shame.

 


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#327

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Posted Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:22 PM

Kevin Spacey speaking of Netflix and the $400 million dollar pilot season.

 

"Differentiation between these platforms will fall away."  


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#328

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Posted Oct 9, 2013 @ 9:08 AM

I think AMC should reinvent it's train of thought in regards to their series pickups. Thus far they have been picky with that they let through and it has worked, but that trend has started to fail them with first The Killing (granted the showrunners have caused that more so than AMC) and now Low Winter Sun. Throughout the past year they have announced a substantial amount of developmental projects. So why doesn't the network choose 6-12 of their projects for a straight-to-series six episode first season? This way they can find which shows stick and which ones are flops. This will also prevent what happened to Low Winter Sun, where they just had to get the remaining few episodes out as they will only have 6 episodes if a show is a complete flop.

 

This would also give them a chance to attempt to open more nights. The Killing and Low Winter Sun could've been paired together on say Tuesdays, with cop based movies throughout the day, to go head to head with TNT's originals.

Thoughts?


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#329

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Posted Mar 5, 2014 @ 10:19 PM

This is a stunning number. Half of Broadcast TV Viewers Are 54 and Older

 

 

In the last 20 years, the median age of Americans has increased from 34 to 37. The median age of broadcast TV viewers has increased from 41 to 54. Not a three-year jump, but a 13-year jump.

 

And therein lies the existential challenge for CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC: How do you persuade advertisers to spend more on an audience that's so obviously graying faster than an already-graying country? You sell them on the purchasing power of senior citizens, I guess. In the 1993-94 broadcast season, Home Improvement was the most-watched show, with a median viewer of 34, Commercial Appeal reports. Today, it’s NCIS, with a median viewer who is 61.

 

Not a three-year jump, or 13-year jump. A 27-year chasm.


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#330

Actionmage

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Posted Mar 12, 2014 @ 11:02 PM

xaxat, thanks for the link! I wished it would've been a little deeper, but it was an interesting post nonetheless.

 

I guess this actually is proof that when you are exposed to something early and often in life, you are "hooked" on it.  At 48, I still prefer to watch my tv live (time-shifted if I have dvr service) and prefer to watch big-screen movies in movie theaters. (Though I do miss the specialness of having a family movie watch when theatrical movies were shown routinely during prime time on the Big Three.)


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