Funny Business with Jane Wells

Farewell to Our Lady of the Household

Equality at last?

George Marks | Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Nielsen has decided to stop appreciating the ladies. "As discussed at various client group meetings earlier this year, the Lady of the Household (LOH) characteristic(s) will be retired," the company said in an email. This means ratings will no longer have a specific demographic reflecting what traditional homemakers are watching on television.

The Lady of the Household category is retiring over time, beginning August 29th. Her final farewell will be in the third quarter next year. That's a long retirement party.

Brad Adgate at Horizon Media noted her passing on Twitter, but the real question might be, what took so long?

In the past, Nielsen has sometimes referred to the adults in the household as the O/R ("owner/renter") and the LOH. This presumed the O/R was male, and the LOH was just along for the ride. Think Don and Betty Draper from "Mad Men" — he watches football on the weekends, she watches soaps on weekdays, they both smoke like chimneys.

These days, the lady of the household is often a guy. Meantime, the owner-renter is often a woman, who's probably not really in her house much. She works, or runs 500 errands a day, or both. Maybe she's a single mother. Maybe she's not really much of a lady. She's like a man, only busier.

"Essentially, this is just the latest evolution in our TV measurement," says Nielsen's Julia Monti. "An analysis found that viewing estimates for “Lady of the House” are similar to those of the average female and that clients are no longer using this term for business transactions, thus we determined that it’s time to phase it out."

Farewell, then, to Our Lady of the Household. Goodbye to your aprons and pearls, your coiffed hair and pack-a-day habit. Like "All My Children", you are fading into oblivion.

Now you'll be regarded simply as an adult.


They don't seem to be making much headway in Congress with this whole debt thingy. Rep. John Boehner says there's "no deal" being negotiated behind closed doors.

So what is happening behind closed doors between Republicans and Democrats? I found this surveillance video.

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