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Thanks to streaming, TV is celebrating its senior moment more than ever

Steve Martin and Martin Short received SAG Award nominations for Hulu’s ‘Only Murders In The Building.’ TV OT is a weekly look at what CNN’s entertainment team is watching since too much television has us all working overtime.

(CNN)The Screen Actors Guild nominations were all over the place, but on the television side, they did reveal one significant trend: The recent boon for older actors, driven heavily by, but not limited to, streaming.

The nominations saw Martin Short and Steve Martin recognized for Hulu’s "Only Murders in the Building," Michael Douglas in the comedy running for Netflix’s "The Kominsky Method," and Jean Smart a triple nominee, individually for HBO Max’s "Hacks" and HBO’s "Mare of Easttown," and collectively with the cast for the former.

"Yellowstone," a show anchored by Kevin Costner’s steely presence, also broke through, as did Brian Cox as another powerful patriarch in "Succession" and Michael Keaton for "Dopesick," the fact-based limited series about the opioid epidemic.

It’s no secret that Hollywood has faced accusations of ageism, seeking younger audiences at the expense of older players both in front of and behind the camera. Yet the priorities and business model of streaming, and the abundance of content that it has created, appears to be tinkering with that math.

Unlike ad-supported networks that have prioritized reaching more youthful demographics, streaming relies on subscriptions, and features high-profile talent in part as a means to generate the kind of attention that will inspire people to ante up. While advertisers pay a premium to reach adults under 50, their parents and grandparents’ money is just as green when handed over directly.

While perhaps most prevalent in streaming, this trend isn’t unique to it. Chuck Lorre, the producer of hit comedies like "The Big Bang Theory," its prequel "Young Sheldon" and the aforementioned "Kominsky Method," has stocked his shows with older regulars. Hector Elizondo is among the new cast members on this season of "B Positive." On "Young Sheldon," that has meant supplementing the core cast beyond Annie Potts as the grandma with Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Reba McEntire and Wallace Shawn.

"B Positive," another Lorre production, has taken an even more marked turn in its second season, with a major makeover that put the lead character played by Annaleigh Ashford in charge of an assisted-living facility, adding a number of veteran performers — Héctor Elizondo, Jane Seymour, Ben Vereen, and Jim Beaver — as the residents.

There’s a practical aspect to all this, including data indicating that the streaming audience has gotten older during the pandemic. Last year, the research firm Ampere Analysis issued a report suggesting that Netflix’s subscriber base has grown older as those viewers seek more entertainment options at home.

The appetite for streaming content hasn’t gone unnoticed by performers, especially with certain kinds of movies having witnessed their viability in theaters significantly erode — a dynamic that preceded Covid-19 and has only become more pronounced over the last two years.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter , Sandra Bullock — who has […]

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