Dancing with the Stars viewers are mostly women, old people; “audience is required to dress up”

If you attend a performance of Dancing with the Stars, don’t expect to wear jeans and a t-shirt. That’s because “[t]he audience is required to dress up,” according to The New York Times. As a result, “its members come wearing sequins and silk shirts, giving the evening an air of elegance.”

That’s just one of the reasons the paper cites in its profile of the show, which has now become “the second-most-popular reality show”–behind FOX’s American Idol, of course.

Unsurprisingly, that popularity comes from two groups: Women and old people. “Women make up more than 70 percent of viewers, and more than one-quarter of all viewers are over 65,” according to The New York Times. Oh, and Ron Jeremy, who the Times interviews about his obsession with the show (“it’s a welcome addition to the kind of thing you see on television that they call reality but that really isn’t”).

Despite not being all that popular initially among younger viewers, the series has shown improvement among those 18 to 49, as “it has moved into the top 10 shows of the week in the 18-to-49 group, and on a Tuesday last month, its ratings beat those of the World Series, both in total viewers and among adults under 50.”

Like most successful reality shows, it wasn’t an easy sell at first. ABC’s Stephen McPherson admits now that when he first heard of the show, “I made a funny face. It was an out-there concept.” However, he said Andrea Wong’s “reality division fought for it.”

‘Dancing’ Finds Its Television Footing [New York Times]