It's daytime in the summer, and what are your children watching? The odds are that it's MTV, cable's raunchiest magnet for the out-of-school crowd. Nielsen experts say MTV is watched by 73 percent of boys and 78 percent of girls aged 12 to 19, and if they've got it on during the day, the younger ones in the house are probably checking it out, too.
TV Week reports that television viewership of broadcast and cable shows is up this summer, and some networks aggressively plan to catch (and then capture) viewers during the summer months. MTV Group executive Brian Graden told TV Week that they focus hard on their daytime and late-night programming because "our audiences are home in a way they're not during the school year."
That attracts advertisers selling to youngsters, too, everyone from Coke to Pepsi to Hershey to Dentyne gum. MTV tells them "Young adults 15-17 are excited consumers and extremely impressionable. Now is the time to influence their choices."
MTV's summer schedule includes daytime repeats every day of their nighttime reality shows that usually debut in "The 10 Spot" at 10 p.m. Eastern time, especially "The Real World: Austin." But even if parents were home, they wouldn't be helped by MTV, or those shameless cable-industry lackeys who tell you to trust the V-chip. MTV has dropped its content indicators this summer, meaning there is no L for language and no S for sexual material. Thus the V-chip wouldn't block a thing when "Austin" starts with the "cast" in a hot tub with shot glasses with one woman toasting, "Here's to having a huge seven-person orgy." It wouldn't help with the woman-on-woman kissing session that follows. According to the MTV schedule in late July, MTV will air "Austin" episodes at least 19 times during the week.
There's also at least 19 repeats of "The '70s House," where clueless young people born in the mid-1980s live together in a house in a completely polyester '70s bubble (and complain about the "tight and skimpy threads they've had to wear since being tossed into the totally shagadelic '70s.") Plus at least 16 re-airings a week of "Laguna Beach," a "reality" version of "The O.C.," with rich California 18-year-olds having a spicy last summer at home. The group's trip to Cabo San Lucas includes one male offering the obligatory MTV sentence: "Let's just have a big orgy. Are you guys down? Now that we're in Cabo, let's just [bleep]."