In May of 2007, CBS’ drama series ‘Jericho’ was canceled, and fans across North America weren’t happy about it. Their response took the form of a campaign to send peanuts to CBS (Referencing a line in the season’s final episode), and to spread their word through the modern communications methods available on the internet. It may be somewhat surprising, then, that these were not all twenty-something internet users who helped save this beloved series. In fact, some of them would be old enough to be their grandparents.
These viewers are not part of targeted advertiser’s demographics, and they certainly aren’t what people would expect when they picture someone who posts on internet message boards. These Baby Boomers are not just large in numbers: they also believe that they, too, can make a difference. They might not fully grasp MySpace or Facebook, but that doesn’t keep them from making their voice heard.
“You know what they say,” Jericho viewer Sharon Tomlinson, 53, writes, “60 is the new 40. It is a mistake for TV networks and advertisers to think that our age group is irrelevant.” There is no question that networks are not actively seeking out older viewers; one of CBS’ shows for next season is Swingtown, a drama about a suburban community of swingers. While there is an audience for that type of programming, it isn’t what viewers like Sharon are looking for.
They were looking for a show like Jericho, which according to Nielsen ratings struggled to engage younger viewers late in its season. However, it didn’t have any trouble pulling in viewers outside of that 18-49 demographic privileged by advertisers, if the events that followed are any indication. When the show was canceled in May, many of those most devoted to the cause were not internet-savvy youngsters, but rather boomers hoping to save something they cared about.