Culture

Old is the New Young

The California dream of show business stardom is built around this idea of perpetual youth. Cosmetically, this means plastic surgery, personal trainers, etc. When Evelyn Waugh came out to Los Angeles and wrote the novel The Loved One, he took this idea to its absurd end. Even funerals were an opportunity to prolong one's youth. (Not to mention an opportunity for Hollywood to adapt a LaLaLand-satirizing novel.)

Youth is also a state of mind. A friend of my recently interviewed for a job with a famous Hollywood producer. The position was officially titled "cultural attaché." The producer needed someone young to keep him on top of the next new thing. Youth as a commodity, a skill-set.

In real life, though, away from the dream factory, people still get older every year. According to a recent survey, the average age of the nation's television audience just passed 50. That will mean a lot of things for the TV business. One of them, I imagine, is that somewhere, some 27-year old executive is trying to keep up with the latest trend - being old. I wonder what that Blackberry message looks like?

Dear VP of New Series,

By now you have been Blackberried the bad news. We all knew this day would come, but still, neither I or my assistants were prepared. Which means either I wasn't prepared, or I need new assistants. Do you think I need new assistants?

RE: the news. The average age of our audience has passed the half century mark. 50. 5-0... 49 plus one. Old.

This means of course that many of the shows you were developing, Extreme Frat House Makeover, Skank Island, and untitled Gossip Girl animated spin-off... are temporarily on hiatus. O-K, that's not entirely true, they're as dead as that famous comedian who died recently. What was his name? George Kaplan or something. Yeah, he was awesome.

Anyway, please review some of these new exciting projects, geared more towards the over 50 set. Though I'm only a Senior VP of New Series, I think I know something about quality programming. I have four years PLUS managing the Dartmouth student TV station under my belt.

Please send your thoughts on these to my new assistants, who will be hired this week.

1) Jim Lehrer's Fun Hour: This guy Jim Lehrer seems to be hot hot HOT with old people. He already has a show on PBS called the News Hour. But I think he can do more, I really do. What if, and I'm just brainstorming here, what if he was a judge on a newscaster talent contest. Run this by Simon C. ASAP!

2) Cheers Rehab: The characters of Cheers try to survive each others' foibles in an alcohol dependency center. I have a great recommendation for the clinic BTW.

3) Law and Order and Grandkids: The first part of the show, the same, the arrest. The second part, the trial. The third part, Sam Waterston calls his grandkids.

4) Pimp My Lawn: One of my old assistants just laughed when I said that aloud. I changed my mind, I'll keep him around.

5) Pat Sajak is Matlock 2010. Matlock had to have a son, right? Going from case to case... some of those widows had to pay him in you know what. I say: Pat, can I buy... a hit!

(Don't use that line when you talk to his people, it's mine.)

My worry is, if we do not capitalize on our changing demographic, you and I will be looking for work pretty soon. I saw the SENIOR Sr. VP talking to some older people today. Oh yeah, Armani for sure, and nice hair. If old is the new young, than as the great comedian George Corwin said, we are whatever it is that word you can't say on TV is. You know, frakked.

Sincerely,

Sr. VP of New Series

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