60 Minutes: Older Than You Are?

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September 20th, 2008

Probably not. According to our site's demographics, about 2/3's of you are older than CBS's 60 Minutes. It begins its 40th season Sunday and is the longest running prime-time show on television.

Broadcasting & Cable reports:

60 Minutes is the longest-running prime time show on television. (Only NBC's Meet the Press has been on longer.) It has achieved this extraordinary longevity, at least in part, by staying the same: the ticking clock; the title boards with the producer credits; the signature mix of pieces—the “high Murrow and the low Murrow,” as Hewitt always put it. The show topped the Nielsen ratings a record five times and shattered the record for consecutive seasons finishing in the top 10, doing so 23 times.

In fact, not only has it been among the top 10 shows 23 times, but it has been in the top 20 shows 30 times since 1960 (I need to update that old chart because 60 Minutes was #19 for 2007-8).

60 Minutes has its demographic challenges, but CBS chief Les Moonves is ready to defend it. Again from Broadcasting & Cable

As is the case with many nightly newscasts, 60 Minutes' audience is not the demographic most coveted by Madison Avenue executives. But, says Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., “If demos mattered on that show, it would have been off the air a long time ago. We sell 60 Minutes on the basis of an older, generally well-educated demographic. And that's all that matters. 60 Minutes is not watched by 22-year-olds nor do we sell it that way.”

Our data bears that out, 60 Minutes was nowhere near the season's Top 20 shows for adults 18-49. In fact, it was #82 for that demo. Pass the Geritol.

Here are some other 60 Minutes records, from CBS:

Longest Ever Nielsen Top 10 Streak 
60 Minutes has finished on the Nielsen Top 10 highest-rated programs list for 23 consecutive seasons (1977-1978 to 1999-2000 -- among regular series programs airing more than six times) -- a feat that will probably never be equaled. The next longest top 10 streak in television history belongs to CBS’s legendary “Lucy,” which managed 10 straight seasons on the list in two different incarnations (“The Lucy Show” and “Here’s Lucy” 1962-1963 to 1971-1972). 

Only Broadcast to Finish #1 in Three Different Decades 
The broadcast finished the season as the most watched program in America five times, a record it shares with CBS’s “All in the Family” and NBC’s “The Cosby Show.” But achieving the status in three different decades is another record never likely to be broken. 60 Minutes was number one in the 1979-1980, 1982-1983, 1991-1992, 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 seasons. 

Most Emmy Awards for a Primetime Program 
No other primetime program has matched the 78 Emmy awards that 60 Minutes has won over its 37 years. 

Some Other Major Awards: 

  • 11 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards
  •  11 University of Georgia George Foster Peabody Awards
  •  2 George Polk Memorial Awards
  •  Overseas Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award
  •  National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame 
  • Here are my two "Years in the Top 20" charts from last year. I promise to update them for 2007-8, sometime.

    Broadcast Show Longevity 1960-2007

    Broadcast Show Longevity 1997-2007

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