As it has been for the last several months, STORAGE WARS continues to dominate the schedule for A&E. The month saw stacked episodes of the hit series 4 nights of the week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. (The show also made appearances on Saturdays as well.) DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER remains in the primetime lineup along with newcomer DUCK DYNASTY, anchoring Wednesdays. Monday nights were a mix of programming in April - from crime to storage. THE FIRST 48 anchors the Thursday night lineup.
APRIL PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
A&E President Abbe Raven made A&E's message loud and clear at their upfront presentation last month: "We are creating genres on TV; we don't copy others. We don't want the 25th generation of pawn or storage shows like TLC, Discovery or TruTV."
And it's evident that they are creating genres - and very successful ones. STORAGE WARS, the A&E original series, continued to dominate their primetime lineup for yet another month, and the audience -- and A&E's competitors - are clearly responding. The show (either STORAGE WARS, or spin-off STORAGE WARS: TEXAS aired 101 times in the month of April. In most cases, numbers are well-above average, too. Still, there is a small amount of wear - STORAGE WARS is down 23% from last year and 16% from a month ago. But the space is still working - STORAGE WARS: TEXAS is up 5% from March 2012, and Tuesday night's lineup of STORAGE saw a 49% increase over last year.
The A&E audience is clearly shifting, and has been, over the last year. Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 are up 15% from a year ago, and women are down. This is clear in a look at Monday night's traditionally female-skewing lineup - INTERVENTION, crime (THE FIRST 48, BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT.) The night is the weakest of the week, down 14% from a year ago. INTERVENTION manages to come somewhat close to hitting average, but right now, the night - and the female viewers - don't appear to be a particular priority for A&E. Which, as they align themselves closer with sister network Lifetime, might not necessarily be a bad thing.
DUCK DYNASTY is the latest in the trend of redneck programming. Hitting the air at the end of March, it took a slight hit compared to last month, falling 8%, but numbers are still fairly solid for the latest Louisiana-based series. The night is down 12% overall compared to last year, and 9% compared to a month ago.
THE FIRST 48 continues to be a major success story for A&E, and anchors the Thursday night lineup. The show had above-average numbers throughout the month, and the night overall is up 3% from last year, and saw steady increases across all the key demographics.
LAST CHANCE DRIVING SCHOOL hit the air on Saturday April 14th - a slot that already puts it at a disadvantage. Numbers were below average for the new series, which appeared the following week, and then was gone, in favor of FLIPPED OFF on April 28. FLIPPED OFF scored below average in its debut - we will continue to track it next month.
Saturdays in March featured a variety of stacked programs and themes. STORAGE WARS was the top scorer throughout the month. PARKING WARS, BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR and DUCK DYNASTY fared less well, bringing in numbers that were below average.
In tracking the variances between Live Ratings and Live + Same Day, A&E falls right into the average. Numbers are up 5% when including same day DVR viewing.