As old media’s viewers continue to become more and more gerontrified, you can’t help but observe plenty of ads for Viagra, “Super Beta Prostate”* and other commercials clearly aimed at a graying audience, the only ones left who still watch network news. This isn’t all that new a development; as Brian Anderson of City Journal mentioned to me back in 2005:
Writing in the New Yorker recently, the media critic Ken Auletta pointed out something I hadn’t noticed: the commercials on the Big Three network newscasts are frequently hawking drugs like Viagra and Mylanta, and the broadcasts themselves often focus on health issues. There’s a reason for that emphasis on infirmity: the average age of a network news watcher is now 60; only about 8 percent of viewership is between 18 and 34. Ten years ago, 60 percent of adult Americans regularly tuned in to one of the network newscasts. Now it’s only about one in three.
Perhaps NBC needs to stock up on a few cases of Depends for their aging anchors as well. First there was Chris Matthews getting a tingle down his leg from Barack Obama as a candidate. And now this:
Just turned on Dateline to learn about the time Al Roker pooped his pants at the White House. His words, not mine.
— The Real Matt Hunter (@BigAristotle503) January 7, 2013
You stay classy, NBC. (You too, CNN.)
* One minute you’re winning the Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins; the next minute you’re standing next to a porta-potty hawking this. I certainly hope Joe Theismann was staggeringly well-paid for his efforts.