By Maren Eisenmesser
A “quality audience” is a group of upscale adults that are more educated, have cash to spend at their disposal, and want a show to reflect their current lives and interests according to Becker. This idea of a “quality audience” has expanded its influence beyond the nineties and quality audiences have been widespread ever since. Shows such as Gossip Girl have attracted this generation, for example, because of its clear influence of social media. This teen drama reflects our current obsession with social media. Technology and social media take over young adults lives and continuously have influence over their lives.
While this article was written before Gossip Girl became a hit TV show, many of Becker’s points are still significant with regards to Gossip Girl. Becker’s article mainly discussed how people of the TV audiences wanted a show to reflect their lives. Gossip Girl spoke to the younger generation because many younger adults were becoming accustomed with social media and technology. The characters in the show were reflecting the audiences’ views, just like what happened in the nineties in television.
Gossip Girl premiered on the CW 11—a network television program. During prime time hours, the CW was known for premiering dramas on their network, and Gossip Girl was no different. The quality audience of today has their lives heavily invested in technology and social media. To target a quality audience to the show the network had to have the perfect balance between appealing to the young teen and adults that watch their network and to make it seem edgy and fresh by adding the aspect of blogging about the characters. The CW was able to found that balance which lead to the overall success of the show. Gossip Girl was your average teen but the concept of having anonymous people send in tips to a site to post the gossip about a group of teenage kids was interesting at the time.
The books that go along with the show but since the show premiered in 2007 during the time when using social media was becoming extremely popular with young adults. Posting tips about the characters whereabouts began a key component of the show. People began to blog about spotting of the characters in NYC because many of the scenes took place in actual places. Fans began to have their blogs spotting where the characters were, what they were doing, even who they’re wearing. This created an interaction between the viewer and the show that has not been seen before. The viewers and cast had a newfound connection.
Gossip Girl put the concept of social media within the show really on the map. This appealed to the newest quality audience of the social media age. These kids focused on the latest and greatest technology. Technology was a significant aspect of the show that really draw such a quality audience in.
At the same time though, Gossip Girl stayed true to its teen drama roots by having conflicts week after week between characters that were dramatic. Gossip Girl has remained to be one of the most cutting edge teen dramas of our time that was able to appeal to their core audience while branching out to a newer audience with the concept of social media being a significant aspect of the show.
Quality audiences are still present today because television is still changing to fit the needs of key audiences. Generation Y and Z are becoming of age and social media now more than ever has been on television. With shows such as Gossip Girl social media and technology play an essential role in the show. These “quality audiences” will continue to grow into distinctive audiences as the times change.
Becker, Ron. “Prime-Time Television in the Gay Nineties.” The Television Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2004. 389-403. Print.