Guy TV: Networks vying for remote control
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From Correspondent Mark Scheerer
NEW YORK (CNN) -- This television season it seems that networks are hoping that the check's in the male. Yes, that's male, as in guy.
A flood of new TV programs this fall are aimed at males, reflecting the belief in this demographic-happy world that guys, particularly young ones, like to spend money, and therefore attract advertisers.
CBS has noticed a jump in male viewership ever since it paid an unprecedented $4 billion for the rights to televise NFL games. And with that link to sports, the eye network is seeing improvement in other programs.
"Since we got the NFL back, something like 13 or 14 shows on our schedule are up in male demographics significantly," says Les Moonves, president of CBS. "So we put the blood back into our network in terms of male viewership."
CBS is apparently succeeding in keeping guys from flipping channels by flooding them with testosterone-themed shows like "Walker" and "Martial Law."
"They've got Sammo Hung on Saturday night instead of Dr. Quinn and that is a direct appeal for younger men," says Greg Fagan of TV Guide. "It's the demographic that everybody feels is going to spend money."
Not all shows aimed at guys have been successful, however.
CBS shelved "Buddy Faro" -- a Rat Pack-esque private eye show. ABC, meantime, has sent "The Secret Lives of Men" to the showers. The network was originally banking on the show's "guy talk" to increase ratings, but lackluster ratings forced the change.
"I think that the show's masculinity is perhaps too strong for some audiences," says Fagan.
Still, plenty of new shows this season are basking in masculinity. ABC's "Sports Night" screams men, though it's also finding female fans.
ABC's "Brother's Keeper" and UPN's "Guys Like Us" call for guys' eyes.
New comedies like ABC's "The Hughleys," UPN's "Diresta," Fox's "The Family Guy" and CBS's "King of Queens" center around family men whose goofs come mostly from being dopey guys.
Lukewarm ratings may have some wary, but CBS continues to give a wink to guys with its first midseason replacement. "Becker" stars Ted Danson as a single, salty doctor who's not afraid to go macho.
"Over at CBS, last year they were your parents' network," says Fagan. "Now, they want to be the 'guys who live at home with their parents' network."
Guys living with their parents: the image certainly won't attract female viewers. But apparently the networks don't mind.
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