Men of a Certain Age Ratings: Setting the Record Straight

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

January 14th, 2010

"Of course, the fact that we're gaining younger viewers and losing  older ones leads me to the uncomfortable possibility that our show is killing people," - Men of a Certain Age Co-Creator Mike Royce on recent ratings trends where the show has lost some viewers who are age 55+ while gaining some adults 25-54.

People of the earth:

Ok, not everything is about Conan, the late night wars and general devastation at NBC this week. Just so close to everything though, that you might not have noticed anything else.

But in the midst of all that there was actually other news. Today for instance, along with NCIS: LA and The Good Wife on CBS, the critically acclaimed new drama from TNT, Men of a Certain Age was renewed.

25-54 Ratings Actually Have Been Creeping Up

I wanted to set the record straight about a recent post on Men of a Certain Age's ratings.  In the post and in the comments of that post, I'd discussed the show's sliding ratings since the premiere, particularly with viewers and adults 18-49 in the few weeks since the show hadn't had a new episode of The Closer as its lead-in.  Though I noted the ratings with adults 18-49 had crept up a little and stabilized since the lows on December 28, I also noted the continued downward trend with overall viewers.

There was one thing that I failed to note however, and that was that although still below levels of the premiere and when it had a new episode of The Closer as a lead-in, in the adults 25-54 demo the numbers had actually crept up in consecutive weeks from the lows.

TNT Cares About 25-54 Demo for Men of a Certain Age

I know some will think, "who cares!? The show has been renewed!'   That's a fair way of looking at it, but I wanted to bring it up because I have it on good authority that the 25-54 demographics for the show are very important to TNT.  Considering the show's subject matter, that makes a lot of sense to me.

I wasn't deliberately omitting the 25-54 data, it's just that unfortunately our access to cable show demographics is a bit limited, particularly for any next day results.  Most of the demographic data we see for cable shows is on a weekly basis, so,  we won't even see the adults 25-54 (or adults 18-34) info for Monday, January 11 episode until Tuesday, January 19.

Men of a Certain Age Is a Top Adults 25-54 Performer

For the week ending January 10, Men of a Certain Age was the #9 show for the week with adults 25-54 with 1.693 million viewers and was the number one original scripted show of the week with adults 25-54.  Ok, so it was the only original scripted show during the week (unless you want to count WWE Monday Night Raw) and trailed a couple of reruns of NCIS - the best of which garnered 1.928 million adults 25-54, but hey that show is a beast in that demo wherever it airs! Fifteen of the top 50 programs that week with adults 25-54 were NCIS reruns.

As for Men of a Certain Age, it was a top 10 show with adults 25-54, even without The Closer as a lead-in.

This is a case where the focus on 18-49, where Men of a Certain Age didn't rank in the top 50, might not matter so much.   I will be mindful to consider the 25-54 results in any future analysis.

Coming Back Stronger: A Trend With (Some) Cable Shows?

I don't know if it's an overall trend, but there seem to be a lot of individual data points pointing to some cable shows coming back stronger in between seasons (or half-seasons, as is so often the case these days).   There's HBO's True Blood which was hardly on the map in season one, but busted out in season two.  Some will chalk that up to the vampire craze.  But unless Kurt Sutter is pulling something subliminal over on us, vampires don't explain Sons Of Anarchy.  Or the recent history of Burn Notice.  Or more recently still (albeit only one data point), the premiere of Leverage's second half of season two.

I'm not suggesting that cable networks are pulling the trigger on renewals with new shows with that sort of ratings improvements in mind, but there sure seem to be a lot more examples of that sort of ratings improvement on cable than there is in the broadcast world.  I'm also not suggesting the thinking that it pays to have more patience sometimes with cable shows factored into TNT's decision.  It wouldn't surprise me if it played at least a small role though.

Surprisingly, No Needling E-Mails Or Comments

While I expected some e-mails and/or comments along the lines of "HA! HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA!" when the show's renewal announced, I haven't see any.  At least not yet.  I did hear from Men of a Certain Age co-creator Mike Royce who made me laugh out loud with the quote at the top of this post.

By the way, for any conspiracy theorists who believe the pickup was influenced by Southland's early ratings I don't buy that, and neither did Royce. He chalks it up to the 25-54 performance and the good reviews.

 
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