‘Jesse Stone’ and the Older-Demo Disconnect

If you ever want to see a stark example of the older-demo disconnect, look no further than Sunday night’s ratings and the performance of the CBS movie “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice,” starring Tom Selleck.

In overall audience, the fifth “Stone” movie trounced the competition, averaging 15.1 million viewers based on Nielsen fast nationals. Yet the vast majority of that consisted of adults who think of Selleck as “that nice young man who used to star in ‘Magnum P.I.,'” given that the show ran a distant fourth among adults age 18-49 in it first hour, with less than 20% of its audience coming from that demographic. (By way of comparison, the two-hour premiere of “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC averaged 8.8 million viewers but nearly doubled “Stone’s” demo rating during the second hour.)

By contrast, the Selleck vehicle pulled in a whopping 14.3 rating among adults 55 and older, who accounted for the vast majority of its audience. If you need evidence that there’s an older crowd out there with an appetite for a certain kind of programming that’s generally under-served by networks chasing younger viewers, it would be hard to find a more stark example of that.

By the way, those who did miss “Celebrity Apprentice” (and I’ll say “SPOILER ALERT” here, not that I really believe anyone cares) missed a truly pathetic appearance by comic Andrew Dice Clay, even by the standards of the celeb-reality genre. At every turn, Clay felt the need to keep reminding people that he used to sell out concert arenas, perhaps painfully aware that his career has sunk to the point where pleading with Donald Trump for mercy seemed like a reasonable option.

Clay got booted at the end of the show, and unfortunately for NBC, probably took any reason to continue watching “Celebrity Apprentice” along with him.To borrow from Clay’s old nursery rhymes in his stand-up days, “Hickory dickory dock, I’d sell you if you were a stock.” Oh!

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  1. Pat McCarthy says:

    You bet we’re an under-served audience. And why? Our number are growing, we’re baby boomers, we have more time, more money, we see a lot of movies, probably watch more tv than the young adults.
    (Reminds me of the line from Fried Green Tomatoes — We have better insurance!)
    In 1990, 40% of the US population was younger than 35 years old; by 2010, only a third will be younger than 35. In 2010, the majority of the US population will be 45 years and older, a change that represents a major turning point for the US population demographic.

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