CNN reports that when the 2022 Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced, they revealed a significant trend: there is an explosion of older actors, especially on streaming TV. On streaming platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and HBO, older actors seemed to be thriving as shows like “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Kominsky Method,” and “Yellowstone” are becoming media sensations. To older actors who have fought valiantly against ageism in Hollywood, both in front of and behind cameras, this is sure to be a long-awaited triumph.
The trend seems to be guided by streaming services redoing their math. Unlike ad-supported networks that work to reach youthful demographics, streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix depend on subscriptions. This dependence on subscriptions means companies need high-profile talent to keep the attention of the audience and inspire people to keep subscribing. These are shoes those older actors with wisdom and perfected craft can fill. CNN also reports that the audience is affecting this trend too; streaming audiences are getting older, especially during the pandemic, and this has not gone unnoticed by businesses and performers who are beginning to realize that they need to cater to their new rising demographic.
The roles that older actors are playing are changing as well, moving away from stereotypical grandparents’ roles, to main and supporting roles. Television remains most popular amongst younger demographics. But with streaming platforms changing the status quo, Hollywood is inching toward a more age-inclusive environment for older adults.
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Lowry, B. (2022). Thanks to streaming, TV is celebrating its senior moment more than ever. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/14/entertainment/only-murders-in-the-building-hacks-older-actors/index.html