Speaking of TV shows that skew young, if you want to know why NBC is trying to get into the prime time animated cartoon game (NBC president Bob Greenblatt said that this is one of the things they want Greg Daniels to concentrate on as part of his new deal with the network), check out this list of the broadcast network shows with the most youth appeal. Outside of the CW, which makes shows almost exclusively for people in the 18-34 range, the “youngest” shows are all Fox cartoons. Even The Simpsons, a 20 year-old show that has experienced a normal amount of ratings erosion in most other categories, has a median viewer almost as young as the Seth MacFarlane cartoons and Bob’s Burgers. Most of the Fox cartoons look only about average in the Coveted 18-49 category, but explode among 18-34 viewers, and might look even better if people under 18 counted in the ratings.
If cable shows were included in the list, of course, Jersey Shore would be on there, and so would other reality shows. But on broadcast, cartoons are the prime destination for the younger viewer (broadcast reality shows tend to be “older” than the MTV type of reality show). The only live-action, non-CW shows that even make the list are The Office and Parks & Recreation, though Community might be close. One reason NBC can afford to stick with Parks and Community on Thursdays is that the ads on Thursdays incline toward movie promos, aimed at getting young people out to the theatres on Friday. With a very young, male viewership, NBC can sell some ad time on Community to advertisers who have young male viewers in mind.
So while no broadcast network other than Fox has been able to make prime time animation work (Fox is even taking over the original prime-time cartoon, The Flintstones), and even Fox hasn’t been able to do it outside of Sundays, you can see why other networks would want to keep trying.