Can the Bulging Boomer Demographic Save Network TV From Itself?
Perhaps not yet. But some demographers and marketers insist that, as the baby boomers age out of media's traditional target demographics -- taking their formidable wealth with them -- more magazines, TV shows and advertising campaigns will be forced to follow the money.
That means finding newer roles for older characters than the cranky grandfather or avuncular sidekick. It also means younger folks who assume their skateboarding, Grand Theft Auto-lovin' lifestyle is about to take over pop culture, may have to think again.
I pulled together an interesting take on all this for the Times' redesigned monthly periodical for older readers (old name: Seniority; new name: Life Times) which you can read here.
It leads with quotes from my favorite boomer of all time, Linda Ellerbee, whose way-cool Lucky Duck Productions now cranks out clever documentaries and incisive Nick News reports advancing ideas the mainstream media would never approach (I was probably the only black kid in the state of Indiana hooked on her groundbreaking late-night newscast with Lloyd Dobbins called NBC News Overnight.)
"Here we are, still the largest group of population, and television says it doesn’t want us as an audience because advertisers don’t want us," she said during a recent phone conversation. "And advertisers don’t want us because we’re too fixed in our ways....(but) I am 62 years old, I probably buy a different brand of toothpaste every time I go to the store. I am also more able to buy a Mercedes than a 25-year-old...theoretically.
"I celebrated turning 60 by hiking 200 miles across England. I’m still wearing blue jeans and sneakers, I’m still reading fashion magazines, I still have my eyes. We are inheriting from our parents more money than the world has seen. I take this very personally, because it's about me.”
What do you think? Wanna pick a fight with Linda?
Martha's Apprentice Wants You to Vote
Amid the flood of local "celebrities" who recorded PSAs urging their fellow Pinellas County residents to vote, was Apprentice: Martha Stewart winner Dawna Stone (you remember -- she was on the Apprentice spin-off nobody watched).
See it here. Makes me want to run out and make a steam-cooked vegetable plate with apricot/walnut dressing on the side for my local poll workers. Or not.
Tribune's lead sentence on the settlement: "TAMPA - The parent company of the St. Petersburg Times will not be able to use the phrase “Tampa Bay Times” without restrictions for the next five years, according to a settlement between the owners of The Tampa Tribune and the Times."
The St. Petersburg Times and its corporate parent, Times Publishing Co., will get restricted use of the name for the next five years and unlimited use thereafter."
Is it a surprise the two papers can't even agree on what the settlement really means?
Kidnapped Officially Dead
Futon Critic reports that NBC is pulling the plug on its big-ticket hostage drama Kidnapped after moving it to Saturdays, where it was the lowest-rated show of the night. Repeats of L&O: Criminal Intent will air there starting Saturday, surprising no one.
I know viewers seem to hate hostage dramas as much as they hate heist dramas and people are up to here with serializng stories that advance at a snail's pace. But I was one of those 3-million or so hardy souls who stuck with the show -- okay, I Tivo-ed it mostly -- because I kinda dug the actors, the characters and the intrigue.
What I do know is this: hits such as 24, Seinfeld, Cheers and All in the Family all started as low-rated failures in their first season, rescued by tenacious fans and producers who figured out how to make their winning formulas work over time. If TV execs don't figure out how to give intriguing series more time to grow, we're gonna be stuck with a primetime studded with reality TV, game shows and police procedurals.
(As always, click on any photo to enlarge it)