The “Courting the Female Audience” panel at the Producer’s Guild’s Produced By conference hashed out what it takes to capture the growing female demographic of TV viewers.
According to Matt Warburton, executive producer of Fox’s The Mindy Project, “Female viewers are much more demanding and discerning. They care about the quality of a show. For men, fart jokes and an explosion are enough.”
AMC’s The Walking Dead lands No. 1 with female viewers — a surprising statistic, at first blush. The show is notorious for over-the-top gore and shocking violence. Ladies like bashed brains and dragging entrails? Short answer: Yes. It’s 2014, after all.
In terms of a longer answer, I’m a lady and I don’t necessarily love gore. I watch the Dead because the writing and acting are impressive, the story is compelling and complex, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Daryl Dixon is really good with a cross bow. Beneath the rotting innards of The Walking Dead beats a heart of gold that will never die (unless you brain it). I’m a huge fan. It’s a thought-provoking show which asks questions that get to the heart of parenting, shared values, and pretty much the meaning of life.
I am “demanding and discerning.” No doy! I’ve been watching TV like a pro for years.
The conference panel also noted that women like Law and Order-type procedurals and The Real Housewives ad infinitum. Also, guess what? Forty percent of ESPN’s audience is women. I’m not a scientist, but it sounds like women are watching a pretty good sampling of TV. I’m glad TV-makers are being intentional in their courtship of women, but if they just keep thoughtfully producing the good, the trashy, and the sporty — we’ll keep watching it.
Now let’s talk about Two and a Half Men. Women hate it — not because we are female, but because it is an affront to all that is worthwhile in the world and stands as a monument to crass, unthinking mediocrity. If you want to court us, here’s a hint: less of that.
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