• Networks Discover: Family-Friendly Programs Popular With Families

    by  • June 15, 2016 • Broadcast Decency, Family Friendly • 0 Comments

    Family Watching TV

    Kid-centered talent competitions are one of the most successful genres on TV today — because they are something the entire family can watch together. 


    “NBC’s Little Big Shots [is] becoming the first real hit since The Voice debuted in 2011,” announces an article in Variety. In March, Little Big Shots opened to 12.8 million overnight viewers and averaged an audience of 13.7 million in delayed viewing fthroughout the first season – “vastly larger than any other new recent reality program,” such as The Bachelor, Dancing With the Stars, Survivor, Big Brother, or American Idol.

    As Variety notes, other networks are joining the trend  with shows ranging from Fox’s MasterChef Junior and Bravo’s Project Runway Junior, to cable cooking competition like Chopped Junior, Chopped Teen Tournament, Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off and Kids Baking Championship.

    While much of Hollywood is jumping on the “kid program” bandwagon solely to garner higher ratings and more viewership, they are doing so apparently convinced that simply featuring children is the reason for these show’s success. While watching children can be fun, amusing, and even inspiring, the use of children is not the only, or even primary, reason such programs are a success.

    The real reason is that these kid-centered shows are safe for children to watch, and can be enjoyed by the entire family…points totally missed by most of Hollywood today. With ever-more cable prime-time programming featuring graphic violence and sadism, each striving to be the next Dexter or The Walking Dead, and broadcast TV’s alleged “family” series focusing largely on dysfunctional families and sleazy sex jokes, family audiences are desperate for something – ANYthing – they can watch together. And sadly, reality shows about children are about all that fit the bill.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible to craft comedies and dramas that are suitable for the entire family. Broadcast TV did so for the better part of 50 years. But sadly, Hollywood no longer sees any value – or has any interest — in creating programming that a majority of Americans might actually want to watch.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

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