‘The View’: How Old Is the Majority of the Show’s Audience?
If you’ve caught any headlines about The View in recent years, you probably know the show has had something of a revival. After a bit of a tailspin in 2014 (following the Jenny McCarthy experiment), the audience returned to match late Barbara Walters-era ratings numbers in 2018.
Whether you credit the show’s return to political topics, a better mix of co-hosts, or increased citizen engagement following the 2016 election, The View’s ratings strength can’t be denied. And many took note when The Gray Lady called it “the most important political TV show” in 2019.
But that begs the question: Who are the 2.5-to-3 million viewers taking in the show on a daily basis? As with most daytime TV, the audience definitely skews older. And a quick dive into the ratings shows how few viewers under 50 watch the show.
The majority of ‘The View’ audience is over 55
The View has always featured younger co-hosts, beginning with Debbie Matenopoulos, who was 22 when she joined the cast for the show’s 1997 premiere. However, though young cast members get their say, the show began with the 68-year-old Walters (its creator) as the dominant force.
For most of this past decade, Whoopi Goldberg, 64, and Joy Behar, 77, have served as the show’s guiding voices. And in recent years Whoopi and Behar have been speaking to viewers in their age group. In June 2018, when The View was averaging 2.77 million viewers, only 322,000 were under 50.
If you look at the numbers in the key 25-54 demographic, they look a little stronger (454,000). However, that leaves 83% of the show’s audience in the age group of 55 and over. In 2019, those numbers dropped across the board.
While the overall numbers in mid-November 2019 still looked strong (almost 2.6 million per show), the percentage of 25-54 viewers dropped to below 15% (380,000 viewers). As for 18-49 viewers, that figure dipped to 275,000. So it’s safe to say The View does not cater to a young audience.
Older viewers watch the most TV overall
While The View attracts a mostly older audience, that’s not different from cable news audiences — or television in general. In early 2019, leading programs like Hannity (Fox News) and The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) averaged around 3 million viewers with under 20% of the audience aged 25-54.
Overall, the older the age group, the more time they spend watching television. In 2019, Nielsen released its Total Audience Report that showed seniors (65+) watching an average of 7 hours of TV per day. As for the 25-54 demo, the number clocked in just below 6 hours.
Obviously, retirees have more time to watch TV, so those numbers won’t surprise many. In the case of The View, timing is also an important factor. Viewers who can tune in to a program that airs at 11 a.m. on weekdays certainly won’t do so at their day job.
So does the Times’ assessment that The View is the nation’s “most important political TV show” hold up with these figures in mind? That depends. It certainly reaches a large audience in a medium mostly watched by older viewers. For those who turn to TV for politics, it’s certainly a key part of the conversation.