Exclusive: A tweens-eye view of TV today


The children of today are the 18-49 demographic of tomorrow, and it’s never too early to start learning about their likes and dislikes on television. And of course, there is a great deal of content available aimed right at this group, far more than back in the day when we were young. Thanks to a school-sponsored Sons and Daughters to Work Day event, we happen to have a tween right here, so we decided to ask a few questions.

The results are not scientific – they represent the views of one and only one tween. This tween is the son of a journalist on top of that, and journalists are not, well, normal.

So while we don’t necessarily suggest setting your program lineup without checking out a few more opinions, we offer these honest and spontaneous opinions for your consumption and consideration.

A few additional points – the tween in question is at the old end of the tween spectrum, aged 12 with only 11 months left in the demo – in short, knocking on the door of the teen demographic (even as we parents are beginning our researches into refrigerator padlocks). Obviously, the tween is a male, since the tween has been previously identified as a son. And this particular tween is considering a career as a chef – a fact which will show up in the answers to some of our questions.

With those qualifiers in hand, here we go.

* RBR-TVBR: What are the best shows for your age group from kids’ TV networks?

* Tween: That’s a little hard to answer because I’m between having favorite TV shows in adult channels and kid channels, but I would have to say it’s probably between animated comedies, taped comedy, and animated adventure.

* RBR-TVBR: Any specific shows?

* Tween: “iCarly,” “That ‘70s Show,” “Adventure Time with Finn and Jake,” etc.

* RBR-TVBR: What could kids’ networks do to improve?

* Tween: They could make less little kid/teen shows and make at least 10% of new shows for tweens.

* RBR-TVBR: What shows do you like on other channels?

* Tween: I mostly watch Food Network and ABC Family but I watch Animal Planet as well.

* RBR-TVBR: What kinds of shows would you like to see that aren’t on TV now?

* Tween: Probably some kind of news channel that would interest me. I like to be updated on current events but news shows like “Today” bore me out of my mind.

* RBR-TVBR: Do you pay attention to commercials?

* Tween: No. Half the time I read when the commercials come on. And when I don’t read, I just space out until whatever I’m watching comes back on.

* RBR-TVBR: What shows on TV do you never, ever want to watch?

* Tween: Shows for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and 1st graders. If you ask me, all those shows make kids sound like idiots. I don’t care if the viewers are young, at least speak like you’re in a conversation.

* RBR-TVBR: Do you watch news programs? What do you think about them? What do you get out of them?

* Tween: Well, as I previously stated, I don’t enjoy news programs, but they’re the only thing my mom watches when I’m getting ready for school. I suppose I naturally absorb some of the stuff they say and do on the news, but I’d absorb more if it wasn’t so dry. They could do something to make it less boring besides the occasional joke about the terrible weather that’s so bad everybody has to laugh.

* RBR-TVBR: Anything else you’d like to tell TV bosses now that you have their attention?

* Tween: Nickelodeon – waaaaaay too much “SpongeBob!” And to their competitors: Find something to compete with “SpongeBob!”