Farewell, ‘lady of the house’

Someone called my house last week and asked my wife, “is this the lady of the house?”

“There’s no lady of the house here,” she replied before hanging up.

We’re pretty sure it wasn’t the Nielsen company on the other end of the phone. Nielsen, the people who measure what people are watching on TV, and then report to the networks that people are watching garbage instead of decently-written shows, is retiring its “Lady of the House” demographic.

Among the many characteristics its report to network execs contains, the LOH shows what women who don’t work outside the home are watching.

CNBC’s Jane Wells says…


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.”

About 40 years late.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Nielsen’s target market is probably most accurately described as ” the obese half-wit” of the house.

  • Jamie

    I don’t know about Nielsen, but a lot of people still use the term “housewife,” despite having, for decades now, a pretty decent alternative: homemaker.

  • Allie

    I think I might be in love with your wife, Bob. Being called “lady” makes my skin crawl.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Allie, just curious: Does the introduction ”Ladies and gentleman…” make the old epithelial tissue wiggle too? :-)

  • Phillip

    Not to mention it ignores the percentage of queer households where there are 2 women living together or 2 men living together. And any transsexuals who don’t buy in to the man/woman structure.

  • Phillip

    Sorry, transgendered folks, not transsexual.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Phillip, not to mention a house of ill repute, where the several ladies of the night would be confused as to whom the Nielsen rep really wished to speak with.

  • Cara

    As a female head of household, I’d love to have a wife. Or reasonable facsimile thereof.

  • Momkat

    The caller must have been the same person who wrote recently in Newsweek magazine about some woman’s ‘hen party.’ I haven’t heard that term since the ’50′s.