Tonightly audience was older, not younger.

Flagship ABC Comedy show Tonightly with Tom Ballard may have been axed for having too small an audience for the amount of money it was costing, but the majority of its viewers were older, not younger.

65% of the audience across 2018 were over the age of 40.

29% were aged 16-39.

Whilst Tom Ballard urged ABC to continue to make comedy for younger audiences, the numbers arguably illustrate the degree of difficulty in attracting them as broadcast viewers. It also emphasises ABC’s ongoing concerns to lower the average age of its audience.

When ABC axed the show,ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist, David Anderson, said in a statement, “Attracting younger audiences requires bold approaches and we continually experiment with new content and new formats particularly on digital platforms. We remain committed to exploring and developing projects that connect with different demographics.”


  1. Recently I heard an 80-year-old female talkback caller and Tom Ballard fan on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Mornings with Jon Faine lamenting Tonightly’s demise, one of a number of older callers with similar opinions.

  2. They didn’t really give it a chance. The lesson from the US is you stick with these shows. CBS had every reason to axe Colbert after a year but they didn’t. Colbert also uploads his entire show to Youtube which is where the young people are.

    • most commercial station pickups of ABC shows have been disastrous, one exception i cna think of being Good News Week, fair while ago though. i can’t see this changing much but out of 7, 9 or 10, Ten would be the best bet, they’ve proven they can try things a bit outside the square, even if not that successful, re pilot week. Personally i think running a whole lot of shows in one week was a bad idea though.

    • Maybe the fact that not many of them were watching this show may point to this show not being funny at all……. and young people having a good sense of humour

    • Roughly this, yes. FTA’s 18+ audience is about 34% 18-39, 66% 40+.

      Interesting factoid I learned while double-checking those %’s: after 6pm, Sky New’s audience is 80%~90% 55+, and almost 100% 40+. But it’s dangerous to make too many assumptions from such small numbers… 😉

      • We are making assumptions on the audience of Tonightly which had around 30,000 viewership, so we can make assumptions about Sky’s evening viewership which is about double that.

        • Which supports my point:
          Tonightly’s age demos were ~29% 18-39, 65% 40+.
          Overall, FTA’s 18+ is ~34% 18-39, 66% 40+, and its all-ages is ~21% 0-17, ~27% 18-39, ~52% 40+.

          So Tonightly’s 18-39 demos were about what you’d expect for FTA overall. Its 40+ demos skewed a little high, but were about what you’d expect for an 18+ show (can’t have the kiddies hearing *that* word, can you? 🤣).

          In comparison, Sky News evenings – at 80%-90% 55+ and 90+% 40+ – are, by any measure, heavily skewed towards the old people demo…

          (Folks, don’t get bent out of shape & say “don’t call 40+ old!”. I’m in that group myself…)

          • Before David tell us to get a room again, I was merely pointing out that shows on Sky with it’s limited reach, double the viewership of a show on ABC2…… it doesn’t matter who was watching Tonightly, not enough of them were watching at all (a cynic may suggest that people were avoiding it actually)

  3. Would it maybe have picked up more young eye balls on iview? Certainly, most of the people I know who fall into the first half of that 16-39 bracket rarely watching anything as it goes to air.

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