A&E Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The network's scheduling approach appears to break the week into two parts:  Monday-Thursday, and the weekend.  In both instances, it's all about stacking themes or singular series throughout the night.

Monday-Thursday is dominated by reality based series, mostly within the crime and justice category.  Signature series INTERVENTION, DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, and FIRST 48 anchor the evenings, more often than not, in the form of two hour blocks.  The 10pm timeslots feature a rotating mix of real life and reality series that include the human condition, crime, pop culture, celeb-reality, and paranormal.  Many of the series tend to be half hours scheduled back to back to fill the slot.

Friday and Saturday feature three hour stacks of CRIMINAL MINDS.  Sunday nights have been switching every few months between CSI: MIAMI/CRIMINALMINDS and reality series, with dramas the current mainstay.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /July 2010 vs. July 2009 (% Change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-6%

-16%

-15%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-38%

-27%

-26%

Wednesday 8-11pm

19%

18%

34%

Thursday 8-11pm

25%

44%

47%

Friday 8-11pm

13%

37%

35%

Saturday 8-11pm

-12%

11%

0%

Sunday 8-11pm

157%

44%

59%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

9%

12%

18%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

A very good midsummer month for the network.  Overall audiences were up 9%.  Key demos are up double digits, heavier with men.  Median jumped from last year, but is consistent with the last few months. 

Big news this month is the premiere THE GLADES.  The network's latest foray into scripted drama is looking pretty solid so far.  Network press calls it their most watched drama series telecast in their history.  Over 3.6M viewers checked it out.  Shifting from the heavier stories in THE CLEANER and THE BEAST, GLADES takes a lighter approach in the storytelling.  Feels a bit like USA series and that's a good thing.  Series ends the month as the top rated propertyon the schedule.

Mondays featured a full month of new episodes for INTERVENTION and OBSESSED.  As usual, both series were above network averages for the month, although not as much as we've seen in previous months.  INTERVENTION was actually down 20% in the key demos from last year, and that's with all new eps.  Fading?  Not yet.  Probably a summer phenomenon.

Tuesdays were all about getting ready for new episodes of GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS.   Again, full disclosure that this one's a CU favorite, not to be missed.  Keeping with its history, SIMMONS and family do very well with the premieres, while repeats fall back to the pack. 

BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR anchors Wednesday nights with solid performances in July.  DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER is on hiatus so the burden's falling to BILLY to keep the night alive.  And he did just that. 

FIRST 48 was above average with a mix of premieres and repeats taking over Thursdays.  CRIMINAL MINDS on Fridays means large audiences, weak demos.  Saturdays were filled with inventory stacks and remains the lowest night of the week.

A special on Charles Manson pulled average numbers on a Thursday night.  Sister network History did fairly well with its own Manson special last summer on the 40th anniversary of the Manson murders.  The 41st anniversary didn't seem to draw the same attention. 

June puts in a steady performance for the network with slight increases in key demos.  Overall audiences are up a hefty 9%, largely the result of CRIMINAL MINDS.  Target adults were slighty down for 18-49 (-2%) and slightly up for 25-54's (4%).  Median age is up 5% over last year, another consequence of the CRIMINAL MINDS acquisition.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

A&E made a lot of drastic program content changes in recent years, going more mainstream in reality and moving away from such staple doc series as BIOGRAPHY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS, and AMERICAN JUSTICE.   Properties like STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMEN, THE FIRST 48 and MANHUNTERS still maintain the network's roots in crime/investigation, while reality shows like DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, INTERVENTION, HOARDERS, and GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS define the network today.  DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER and GROWING UP GOTTI helped bring A&E into the world of general entertainment, by taking its tradition of crime into reality programming. After growing in popularity with younger demos, A&E was able to branch out even more with shows like INKED, KING OF CARS, and DRIVING FORCE.  All of these programs had compelling, quirky and/or unique characters, along with something edgy in their lifestyle.  The genre has grown to include the human condition and the paranormal. 

In early 2007, the network announced its first development slate of drama series in years.  The first project to come out of that slate, THE CLEANER starring Benjamin Bratt, premiered in July, 2008.  A second season soon followed.  THE BEAST, starring the late Patrick Swayze, solidified the network's foothold in the genre, building on their acquired dramas, particularly CRIMINAL MINDS, and the successful real life franchises. The newest addition, THE GLADES, hit the schedule this summer and more pilots are in the production hopper now.

A&E tries to be just edgy enough to fuel publicity and appeal to a younger audience. Strong characters, as in DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER and BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, mixed in select celeb-reality offerings sit across the week.  The human condition has formed the basis for their Monday nights over the last year with INTERVENTION, OBSESSED, and HOARDERS. 

IMPORTANT: The network doesn't refer to itself as a "women's" channel, but the gender skew leans almost 60% female.  Something to keep in mind when developing a program pitch.

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