Why Has the Network TV Audience Gotten So Old?

Twenty years ago, the highest-rated show on television was Cheers, and the average age of its viewers was a spry 34.7 years old. In the modern era, American Idol rules the roost, but despite the fact that it's a talent competition for young'uns (as opposed to an adult comedy set in a bar), the Idolviewer's median age is almost a decade older at 43.8, and the season prior, it was even worse: The No. 1 show was NCIS, which had the median viewer age of 57.4.

The Wall Street Journal claims that this demographic hike is going to result in more ads aimed at older viewers, but we're more curious about why the TV audience for the broadcast networks is getting so old in the first place. Here are three of the most likely reasons.


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