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Not-So-Desparate Wives

6/25/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

June may be the month for weddings, but May has been a great month for cable shows about wives. Among
CableU’s top 30 networks, five ran 10 original primetime programs that centered on married women, for a total
of over 80 hours of wifely programming in one month.

CONTENT: WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE

Most programs feature groups of wives and their unique,
outrageous and cable-worthy lifestyles. Each show has
a theme that bonds the wives together — whether it be
location, lifestyle choice or their husbands’ careers. Three
programs each focus on just one woman with a personality
strong enough to carry a whole program on her shoulders.
Only Lifetime’s Army Wives is a scripted drama; the rest fall
into the docu-reality genre.

AUDIENCE RATINGS: THE BETTER HALF

On three of the five networks, the best-rated program of the
month (among households and women 18-49) was a wivesoriented
show. Every program in the category delivers better
ratings than its network’s average primetime rating. Army Wives
and Bravo’s The Real Houswives of Orange County had the
highest total program rating. Looking at premieres only, Bravo’s
Real Housewives of New Jersey and VH1’s Basketball Wives
came out on top.

BOTTOM LINE: THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER

Is this a viable category? Only if you are a female-skewing
network looking for a high-rated program with a long shelf
life that can hold up to multiple encores.

Is there more room for more wives? The Browns
of TLC’s Sister Wives certainly think so. Find a strong
personality or three and a unifying theme, and you are on
your way.

— Analysis by CableU.tv

March