Limiting Your Audience: Janeane Garofalo & Criminal Minds

My wife and I enjoy watching the television program, Criminal Minds.  We have followed the exploits of the fictionalized B.A.U. (Behavioral Analysis Unit) from the very first episode, which aired in September 2005.  Even though we fit into the key demographic — 18-49 year-olds — we are now beyond that even more coveted sub-group, the 18-35 year-olds.  Alas, with age and experience come some downsides.

Although older viewers tend to be some of the most loyal, advertisers believe that the younger demographic is where it’s at.  A series can lose the over-50 crowd and still survive.  But, heaven forbid if the show hemorrhages younger viewers.  When this begins to happen, it’s only a matter of time before the series is either cancelled or fails to get picked up for another season.

Because of the obsession with the youth culture and all things young, television shows are now produced for and marketed to 18 to 49 year-olds (especially 18 to 35 year-olds).  The studios don’t mind the older folks watching their shows, but they much prefer the younger audiences.  Ponce de Leon did not have anything on this generation. 

With the intense competition in today’s fragmented television market, it’s no wonder that producers and advertisers target a younger audience.  CBS shows like The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and NCIS appeal to the young demographic, although NCIS has an even broader appeal. 

You would think that Hollywood would want to have as big an audience for their product as possible, but you would be wrong.  Many times, Hollywood has such a narrow target audience in mind that it misses out on a broader audience, which translates into more market share and higher ratings.  However, the youth culture so drives Hollywood that they would rather have lower overall numbers if they could have higher numbers in the key 18-49 year-old demographic.  

How does this narrowing of the target audience happen?  In one of two ways:  content and/or casting.  If the content of the show is too narrow (think Jersey Shore), you might have a higher share of younger people watching, but the overall ratings will suffer because you have limited the audience.

The other way that Hollywood often limits its potential audience is through bad casting choices.  Take the new Criminal Minds spin-off, Criminal Minds:  Suspect Behavior.  When the characters for this new show were introduced last year, it looked promising.  Because my wife and I both love the original Criminal Minds, we had a built-in loyalty to the new show.

However, one bad casting decision can affect viewership.  When I discovered that Janeane Garofalo was added to the cast, I knew immediately that I would not watch Criminal Minds:  Suspect Behavior.  I did make a concession by watching 24 when she was on, but I will not invest in a new show with her as one of the stars. 

Why the producers and the executives at CBS would, right out of the shoot, limit their potential audience by casting Garofalo is perplexing.  She is not only an annoying actress in just about any role, but she has gone out of her way to alienate and offend a huge portion of potential viewers for this show.  While she has the First Amendment rights to say things that many Christians find objectionable and offensive, CBS and the producers of Criminal Minds:  Suspect Behavior should understand that people like my wife and me, who might have otherwise been favorably inclined to watch the spin-off, have instead been turned off by the casting of Ms. Garofalo.

Hollywood is not unique in its penchant for limiting its audience through content and casting choices.  Check back on Wednesday for an in-depth analysis of how the content and casting for this year’s Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference may likewise limit the potential audience who will show up and tune in at Phoenix.

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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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23 Responses to Limiting Your Audience: Janeane Garofalo & Criminal Minds

  1. Dave Miller says:

    I feel the same way about Janeane Garofalo. I know a certain blog which would love to run this series after it plays out here!

    • Howell Scott says:

      Dave,

      Thanks for the vote! I should be finished with the second part of the two-part series later today. I’ll post both on Voices and you can run with them as you see fit. Thanks and have a great day,

      Howell

    • Dave Miller says:

      I’m not sure how our other interests coincide, but our TV watching seems to be in sync. I was a 24 fan long ago. And Criminal Minds is a favorite as well.

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  5. Mary says:

    I fully agree with not watching Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior soley because of Janeane Garofola. I hope there are more people who feel the same way. I really like Forrest Whittaker, but I just can’t watch the show. Like you I did finished “24” but you almost had to if you wanted to follow the story. At least she didn’t have a really big role that season.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Mary,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. When the characters for this spin-off were first introduced on the original Criminal Minds last season, I thought the new show looked promising. Why anyone would cast Janeane Garofalo as a late addition to the cast is beyond comphrehension. Maybe if people vote with their remote controls, the folks in Hollywood will get the message, although I won’t hold my breathe on that one either. As for 24, if I wasn’t already invested, I probably would have skipped that as well. Thanks again and God bless,

      Howell

  6. michael says:

    janeane garafalo has more integrity than any of you. Your a bunch of yahoo’s. She is Good at whatever she does. And she hasn’t lied about anything. She has always been Cool. I love her to Death. You Can all Pack Sand!

    • Howell Scott says:

      Michael,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m glad that you like Janeane Garofalo. I’m not sure that I questioned her integrity. I will say that her seemingly over-the-top attacks against Christians and Conservatives makes her less appealing as an actress, at least to me. Surely there are actors and actresses that you dislike, for whatever reason. If those folks were in a television show or movie, would you be more or less inclined to watch it? I wouldn’t ban Ms. Garofalo from being in any production (I liked her in Seinfeld and Cop Land), but that doesn’t mean that I have to watch whatever she is in. Maybe her audience is not as limited as I think. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. God bless,

      Howell

    • Laslavic says:

      Of course you would like her you share her snotty vocabulary and her penchant for over the top sanctamony. My guess is you think shes a real smarty pants too. It’s called acting and that’s being generous.

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  8. nygal says:

    My favorite show is Criminal Minds, I started watching cause of Joe Mantegna–I wasnt a fan of Mandy at first–thought he was alittle too intense an actor—-but I gave him a chance in the reruns —NOW I LOVE MANDY TOO….so I thought–hmmm–gonna give JGarofalo a chance—did and her acting is just bad, and her face is hard to look at—especially after seeing her spew her racist high and mighty statements…..love Forest and wish him the best but it’s ashame they had to hire her.

    • Howell Scott says:

      NYGal,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I didn’t think I would like Joe Mantegna replacing Mandy Patinkin, but I believe he has been a much stronger character than Gideon. Janeane Garofalo is, at least to me, an unappealing actress, not just from her physical presence, but also because of her harsh and unfair criticism of conservatives and Christians. She certainly has every right to speak her mind and to be hired to act on Criminal Minds. Likewise, I have the right not to watch her. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. God bless,

      Howell

      • nygal says:

        I dont see her lasting on the show, whether from her monotoned performance or the fact that anytime you see her — you’re just reminded of the terrible things she said…
        it’s amazing the liberals are always accusing the conservatives of racism, hate, and violence when the facts are presented—it’s been the liberals who ride on hate, ….

        I can’t stand hypocrisy—and jgarofalo/liberals just are pickled in it.

      • Howell Scott says:

        NYGal,

        I completely understand and agree with what you are saying. While hypocrisy is not confined to liberals, I do find it both amusing and sad that for eight years during the Bush Administration, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Much of the left-wing dissent was vile and disgusting, accusing Bush of murder, torture, and lying us into war. Left-wing rallies were filled with Bush = Hitler signs. Now, of course, once Obama was elected, even the slightest negative comment about a policy is taken as hate speech. The leftists and their mainstream media allies search for any right-wing loon to prove that all conservatives are racist hate-mongers. By all means, let Garofalo spew her hate, but no one is forced to support whatever “artistic” endeavor she happens to be participating in at the moment. Thanks again for stopping by. Have a great day and God bless,

        Howell

  9. Thaddeus says:

    I like Whitaker but he needs to enunciate better – sloooow your roll, man. Every word doesn’t .. have….. to…. be … real. quick… and … hard to …. understand. ! Janeane “Barfalo” needs to go , yuck. Get someone that actually has talent and chemistry. I hope the show will revamp soon, I tried to watch the show…. twice. Really, I tried.

  10. kara says:

    i have been debating on whether or not to even watch criminal minds, i do so love the ncis and csi’s well except miami i can’t stand horatio. but reading all this and finding out that janeane garofalo will be in the spin off there is no way in hades i would ever watch it, everytime that woman opens her mouth its to insult everyone who voices an opinion other than her’s, i wonder if she realizes the reason she can even spout her opinions is because of a war to make sure we as americans can be free..

    • Howell Scott says:

      Kara,

      I’m with you. I love the original Criminal Minds and CSI (have not gotten into the NCIS’s), but I will not watch the Criminal Minds spin-off with Janeane Garofalo. I would defend her right to say stupid and offensive things, but that does not mean that I have to watch the television shows or movies that she is in. I even find it hard to watch the Seinfeld episode that she is in. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. God bless,

      Howell

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  12. not conservative says:

    too many short minded people out there and this blog is apparently fill with them. too funny. thanks for the laugh.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Hey Not Conservative,

      Thanks for reading. Glad that I was able to bring laughter to your day 🙂 Do you think that some actors/actresses, because of their personal lives, could be a turn-off to some people when choosing whether to watch a television show or paying money to see a movie? I don’t think this has to be limited to conservative or liberal because I would venture to guess that there are some conservatives, if they were cast in a series or movie, that would limit their potential audience. Think Sarah Palin. There probably were some folks who would have liked to watch a travel channel show about Alaska, but they simply would not watch because of Ms. Palin. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not you think that audiences can be limited because of casting choices. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment. God bless,

      Howell

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