Thursday, May 23, 2024

Good News, Bad News for HBO’s “The Gilded Age”: It’s Found an Audience But Not a Desirable One


There’s still good news for HBO’s Julian Fellowes soap opera, “The Gilded Age.” They’ve found an audience.

Monday night’s episode has 701,000 viewers. That was down from the prior week’s 750K, but for a scripted show on cable that number of viewers is impressive. “The Gilded Age” plays on Mondays and there is a lot of competition from “NCIS” and “The Bachelor.”

There is also, alas, bad news. The audience found by “The Gilded Age” is not one advertisers or TV execs want. They are OLD. They are over 55, just about all of them. On Monday night, only 20,000 of the 701,000 were between 18 and 55. Almost the entire audience watched the show from bed, some from hospital beds. Everyone who saw “The Gilded Age” was taking Lipitor, and not buying new cars or clothes or homes.

Indeed, the key demo rating for “The Gilded Age” was so bad the show fell off the list of the top 150 cable shows of the night. The total viewers didn’t matter. It was the key demo. Nine other shows — including “Killing Eve,” which no one knows is still on– tied for 30,000 viewers between 18 and 49. That was the bottom cut off of the chart.

“The Gilded Age” has no appeal for young people, or even middle aged people. It’s very chaste, nothing happens. There’s a lot of talk about the class system, and a little about race but otherwise this is the opposite of “Bridgerton” Season 1. Fellowes and HBO will no doubt take a look at that problem if they plan to get through a second season and try for a third. They’re going to have to turn Turner loose– Kelly Curran’s potential mistress and mischief maker– and hook her up with Mr. Raikes, get her to bed Mr. Russell, and more. Otherwise “The Gilded Age” is going to get buried in a gilded cage.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News