The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz suggests women are less likely to watch "hard news" than men:
Hartford, Conn.: Do you think Good Morning America would change its format for George S. I have turned on MSNBC for years just to avoid the "how did you feel when you heard your whole family had been mauled by dogs and coyotes" questions. I would love to have "mainstream" TV on instead of MSNBC or Fox.
Howard Kurtz: I don't know. Much of the audience for morning shows is comprised of women, especially in the second hour. While I personally wouldn't mind it, moving to a harder-news format would be risky.
If Kurtz has any evidence that women are less likely than men to watch "a harder-news format," I'd love to see it. Otherwise, I'll just have to assume he's making that up. But why?
UPDATE: A Kurtz reader calls him on this nonsense:
Cambridge, Mass.: Wooooooow... because most morning viewers are women, a harder news format would be risky? Really? Really?
Howard Kurtz: The fashion- and cooking-type segments are there for a reason. Of course women are just as interested in important news as men. But morning shows are a peculiar animal, designed to be watched while many people are having breakfast and getting the kids off to school. I'd love to see GMA try a different approach. I'm just saying there's a reason that all three network morning shows do a lot of the tabloid stories and the fluffy stuff.
Kurtz seems to try to backtrack -- "Of course women are just as interested in important news as men." But he doesn't explain what the fact that the morning show audiences consist mostly of women have to do with anything. And his line at the end -- "I'm just saying there is a reason that all three network morning shows do a lot of the tabloid stories and the fluffy stuff" -- seems to reiterate his suggestion that women are more averse to hard news than men.