I only have anecdotal evidence to support this — and not all that much of it — but I’m of the opinion that during the past decade M*A*S*H has picked up a lot of younger fans. Of course, the success of the series on television (cable channels FX, TV Land and The Hallmark Channel and broadcast network ION) and DVD can just as easily be attributed to people who’ve been fans of the series since the 1970s or 1980s. But it seems to me — and again, this is based on nothing more than my observations — that M*A*S*H has a fan base that similar sitcoms simply don’t. And that, in my opinion, reflects a fan base that is expanding rather than dwindling as those who watched M*A*S*H when it originally aired have aged.
Of the 63 people who have submitted entries to My First M*A*S*H, a total of 40 were born after M*A*S*H went off the air in 1983. That’s 63%. And 22 of them, or 35%, were born in the 1990s. Several gave 1995 as the year they were born. That would make them thirteen or fourteen, depending on when they sent me the entry. How do thirteen-year-old’s get interested in M*A*S*H?
Judging from the entries themselves, some had family members who watched the show and introduced them to it while others stumbled upon it all by themselves while watching TV Land or The Hallmark Channel. It helps that M*A*S*H has been shown so often on cable. The more M*A*S*H is on the air the more opportunities there are for younger viewers to find it. The same can’t be said for a lot of sitcoms; for example, you don’t see The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Maude or Three’s Company on television nearly as often as M*A*S*H.
It would be very interesting to see the demographic breakdowns for airings of M*A*S*H on TV Land, The Hallmark Channel and ION. Are younger viewers well represented or are the bulk of those watching baby boomers?