Spike TV -- in an effort to draw in older, male viewers -- will jump into the scripted series ring with a slate of fictional comedy and drama shows.
The network is hoping that the addition of scripted content will help bolster its struggling ratings by attracting more men 25 to 49 to complement its core18-to-34 male audience base, Spike president Kevin Kay told Multichannel News.
While Spike's viewer median age is 42 over a 24-hour basis, Kay says the network's primetime audience skews six years younger. He added the network's more popular shows like MANswers, Deadliest Warrior and scripted, college football-theamed series Blue Mountain State draw mostly 20-year -old viewers.
"We have been pretty successful in getting young people to watch Spike in very good numbers," he said. "Now looking at the next generation of Spike we want to focus on broadening out and bringing in some older guys -- we don't want to leave them out of the equation."
The network is looking to rebound from a 15% audience decline in total primetime viewers during third quarter 2010. Kay says the mix of scripted comedy and drama fare will help broaden Spike's audience and reach more older, male viewers.
"We're focusing on a lot of family comedies and workplace comedies because we think those are very relatable for the older end of the audience," he said.
Among the new pilots on tap for the network are Thunderballs, a half-hour comedy series following three life-long bowling buddies who try to balance the competitive drive on the lanes with their family lives; an untitled air traffic controllers comedy executive-produced by Thom Beers; and an untitled project. starring 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live director Beth McCarthy Miller. which tracks the exploits of a veteran sports writer and the athletes he reports on.
Also on the comedy front is Powerball, featuring a 30-something loser who suddenly wins the multi-million dollar lottery; At Ease, a military comedy that follows two misfit U.S. Army drill sergeants who use unorthodox methods to train recruits; and an untitled family barbeque comedy about a patriarch who cashes in his 401K and takes his family along with him on the competitive professional BBQ circuit.
The lone drama pilot is F.T.W., a one-hour series focusing on an Atlanta police officer who is recruited by the Department of Homeland Security to infiltrate a militia organization linked to domestic terrorism.
Kay says the network hopes to get at least two shows on the air by next year. One of the new shows will look to complement the network's lone scripted show, Blue Mountain State. That series has averaged more than 1 million viewers since its Oct. 20 second season debut, according to the network.