With a determined emphasis on original programming, A&E has strived for a primetime lineup comprised entirely of original series. STORAGE WARS and spin-offs STORAGE WARS TEXAS and STORAGE WARS NEW YORK continue to be a dominating force in the schedule, appearing in the primetime lineup on multiple days during March, as did the hit series DUCK DYNASTY. Crime continues to be the theme for the Thursday night lineup, which features THE FIRST 48 and this month AFTER THE FIRST 48. Mondays nights in March featured the debut of scripted series BATES MOTEL in the 10pm slot.
MARCH PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2013 vs. March2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
A&E has made it clear that they are risk-takers, and with risk can come strong reward. This was the case for A&E in March, as a new scripted series, and the continuing strong performances from DUCK DYNASTY, drove year-to-year numbers up across the board. Numbers were also up fairly significantly across all the key demographics from February as well.
Scripted has returned to A&E in a big way for the network this March. BATES MOTEL, which debuted on March 18th, scored big numbers for the network, driving Monday nights up strongly in overall viewers and younger demographics. Though the show fell 13% from weeks 1 to 2, both airings out-performed network average for the month.
DUCK DYNASTY, which dominated the primetime schedule on Wednesday nights, outperformed network average many times over, driving up the night 161% in overall viewers compared to last year. Numbers grew even more among the younger demographics.
STORAGE WARS, which was in heavy rotation throughout the primetime schedule in March, was also one of the top rated programs for the month for A&E. However, reruns struggled to hit average on Tuesday nights, and the night dropped 28% in overall viewers compared to March 2012.
Crime continues to be the subject for Thursday nights, and the night was up in overall viewers 4% compared to last year. Numbers were up from February, too. In March, AFTER THE FIRST 48 served as lead-out to THE FIRST 48. Both series were among the top rated programs for the month.
Most of the other nights of the week were comprised of more re-airs of STORAGE WARS, DUCK DYNASTY, and a few other original series. Both series continue to score above-average numbers, even in reruns. Still, below-average airings of FLIPPING VEGAS and FLIPPING BOSTON to Saturday's drop in viewers.
As 2013 continues, A&E has a few more high-profile series set to debut in the coming months including more scripted series and several new, high-profile reality originals. As A&E continues to expand and re-define their brand, perhaps there may be a few more unexpected greenlights in the rest of 2013.