In its heyday, "Law & Order" was an important tentpole on NBC's primetime lineup, averaging about 19 million viewers each week. These days, it's averaging around 7.3 million viewers. More problematic: the show's audience is very old. About 64 percent of the show's audience -- 4.7 million people -- are aged 50 and older.Personally, I think that's why network television has lost so many viewers (including me)
This is important because NBC executives have steadfastly maintained for years that they do all their ad sales business according to how many 18-49 year olds their shows can deliver to advertisers. The network does not include in its sales pitches any viewer who is over the age of 49.
16 May 2010
Television executives define "really old"
Excerpts from a WaPo article about the Law and Order television series being discontinued: