You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Mother’ a demo winner

Comedy helps CBS lower audience age, brings hip to network

“How I Met Your Mother” may be a clever, well-acted comedy about a rather hopelessly romantic young man’s search for his true love. But more importantly for its network, it’s a show that has helped CBS in a decades-long search for more young adult viewers, which of course are Madison Avenue’s true love.

A match made in smallscreen heaven.

“How I Met Your Mother” is the Eye’s youngest-skewing show, earning boffo numbers in the all-important 18-49 year-old demo, where its ratings are higher than a majority of sitcoms on the air. With the lowest median age on the network (43.9), it has helped feed the pipeline for the rest of the CBS’ powerful Monday night lineup, which also includes “Two and a Half Men” and ratings powerhouse “The Big Bang Theory.”

Monday night is a really good night for CBS,” says Shari Anne Brill, senior VP at ad-buying firm Carat. “People always thought of NBC for comedies, but CBS quietly built a night with solid performers week in and week out, and I’d say the advertising community has taken notice. What they did with comedies is show that they can be a little hipper — and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is a pretty hip show.”

That’s for sure. This isn’t your father’s CBS comedy. It’s an urbane ensemble series set in Gotham, focusing on a likable group of characters, complete with enviable apartments and a cool hangout.

CBS scheduling topper Kelly Kahl has anecdotal evidence to support the Nielsen data. When he speaks to college students and asks what their favorite shows are, “How I Met Your Mother” gets a large response. Perhaps it’s because two of the stars — Neil Patrick Harris, known to a generation of twentysomethings from the “Harold and Kumar” movies and to another with “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and Alyson Hannigan, who brought with her fans of “Buffy the Vampire Slayers” and the “American Pie” movies — entered the series with substantial young-adult fanbases. Or, maybe, it’s just because the show is good.

It doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its unique storytelling,” Kahl says. “In addition to it being funny, people like the show because they are really invested and bonded with the show and its characters.” Indeed, How I Met Your Mother” may be the gift that keeps on giving for CBS. Since its launch in 2005, the skein has altered the way Hollywood scribes look at the Eye.

It has made the creative community more comfortable bringing shows to us,” says Wendi Trilling, CBS’ comedy development chief. “For years NBC was the place you brought the younger, hipper, cooler shows. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ has helped us shake the perception that CBS was for suburban types of shows, slightly older and less edgy.”

More TV

  • MSNBC Adds Joshua Johnson to Anchor

    MSNBC Adds Joshua Johnson to Anchor Ranks

    Joshua Johnson, a longtime public-radio host, is joining MSNBC as an anchor, and the network is expected to release the details of the program he will lead at a later date. Johnson is known for hosting the NPR program “1A,” and will continue to do so through December 20. The program, produced by Washington D.C.’s [...]

  • Commercials Ads Streaming Illustration Placeholder

    Banner Ads Bother. Pop-Ups Annoy. Streaming Wars Aim to Revive Them

    TV’s newest commercials are starting to look an awful lot like the web’s oldest. Any user of Amazon’s Fire set-top device might have recently stumbled upon an interactive on-screen graphic from Geico, the insurance company known for its heavy use of TV ads. In just 15 minutes, the company likes to claim, it can save [...]

  • THE NEIGHBORHOOD stars Cedric the Entertainer

    TV Ratings: 'The Neighborhood' Climbs to Season High on CBS

    “The Neighborhood” hit a season high in last night’s TV ratings, as NBC narrowly topped ABC in the overall network rankings. The CBS comedy series rose to a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 and was watched by around 6.5 million total viewers, comfortably beating its previous season 2 high of 5.9 million. The good news [...]

  • New AVOD Service W4Free Launches in

    U.K. AVOD Service W4Free Launches, With Sky Handling Ad Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A new player has joined the streaming fray in the U.K., with Video Solutions launching new ad-supported service W4Free and Comcast-owned Sky on board to handle its advertising sales. W4Free’s British rollout follows that of a sister service, Watch4, in German-speaking markets, and comes as the likes of Pluto and Tubi have been in the [...]

  • Friends Final Episode Streaming Wars

    'Friends' Props, Costumes to Be Auctioned Off for LGBTQ Charity

    Fans of “Friends” can own a piece of the sitcom — with more than 100 props, costumes, replicas and other items to go up for auction online for the first time next month. Proceeds from the auction, timed for the popular series’ 25th anniversary, will benefit The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention [...]

  • The Mandalorian Disney +

    Could Disney Plus Reach 60 Million-90 Million Subscribers Earlier Than Expected?

    There’s no doubt about Disney’s desire to make an impression on the market with direct-to-consumer service Disney Plus, trumpeting 10 million subscribers just a day after its Nov. 12 launch. That’s more than HBO Now’s 8 million lifetime subs, not to mention CBS All Access and Showtime OTT’s 8 million subs combined. Wall Street sent [...]

  • Daisy Haggard as Miri in BACK

    'Back to Life' Renewed for Season 2 at Showtime

    Showtime has handed a second season order to “Back to Life,” only nine days after the limited comedy series debuted in the U.S. “Back to Life” was created and written by Daisy Haggard and Laura Solon, with Haggard starring as Miri Matteson who, after 18 years behind bars, returns home and stumbles back into adult [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content