Television executives can't find love from young audiences that are the target of many lucrative advertisers. Their attempts to lure young adults have largely fallen flat, even with programming that features younger protagonists. It's time for an intervention.
Young adults are no more monolithic than any other age group. However, they have some common traits. They grew up with computers and mobile phones. They learned quite a while ago how to avoid watching TV commercials, which they find annoying, and now routinely view programming they like on their laptops or mobile devices.
This is a very different behavior, if not lifestyle, than their parents and grandparents who grew up with television and advertising, believing the two were largely inseparable. Now even this demographic is becoming a shaky audience for network and cable television networks as they divert themselves by watching movies in high definition on their DVDs or tune into public broadcasting, with sponsors tucked neatly into the corners of broadcasts.
ABC has discovered some winning shows with appeal to young adults, such as "Modern Family." CBS is trying to repurpose its successful forensic crime formula with "Golden Boy," featuring a very young police commissioner, with an undisclosed back-story of how he got the job after only seven years on the force. NBC's latest offerings have flopped. Two were cancelled after a couple of episodes earned minuscule ratings.