Friday, June 12, 2009

Late Night Demographics: Average age of "Daily Show" and "Colbert" viewers creeping up

If you're unfortunate enough to be over the age of 49, you no doubt realize that no one cares about you... or, rather, advertisers and network execs don't care about your late night TV viewing habits. NBC is practically dancing a gleeful jig over the fact that people in the 18-49 age group have been tuning in to "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." Those graying Jay Leno fans can go jump off a cliff (at least until September, anyway).

Now, however, is reporting that Baby Boomers may be switching their late night allegiance to Comedy Central's 46-year-old Jon Stewart and 45-year-old Stephen Colbert. "[T]he number of people older than 55 watching 'The Daily Show' rose by 25% [in May 2009, compared with May 2008], 22% for 'The Colbert Report.'" More ominously, "the number of people between the ages of 18 and 34 (the most coveted demographic) watching 'The Daily Show' fell 14%, 15% for 'The Colbert Report.'"

"When you start to see the age creep up on a show like that, you wonder whether the show is sustainable," warned Laura Caraccioli-Davis, head of entertainment at media planning agency Starcom. "It's systematic of the fact that at Comedy Central they need to continue developing shows for younger viewers."

The median age of "Daily Show" viewers in May 2009 was 41.4, and the median age of "Colbert Report" viewers was 38.3. That's still pretty youthful compared to "The Late Show with David Letterman" (54) and the Leno-era "Tonight Show" (55).

Maybe Comedy Central needs to take a tip from "Logan's Run" and come up with a way to make its network disappear from the cable systems of homes when the inhabitants turn 50. Or maybe they can force Stewart off the air, Leno-style, and replace him with Dane Cook. Who needs Emmys when you're trying to attract 18-to-34-year-old men?

Ironically, last night's "Daily Show" guest was CBS News anchor Katie Couric, and Jon spent a fair amount of the segment joking about her aging viewers.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Dane cook? Seriously? Don't make me shoot myself. Television is stupid anyways but, again, Dane cook?