JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
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 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /July 2011 vs. July 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
July was steady, up just a tad from last year. Both targets increase 2% with women driving the younger bracket and men the older. Audiences were also nicely from June, marking the second month of increases for the network. Median age was down slightly as well.
STORAGE WARS was back with new episodes on Wednesdays. Season 3 kicked of mid-month with standout ratings, delivering three times the schedule averages for target demos. Including repeats, STORAGE was the #1 series in the target 18-49 and 25-54 demos for the month of July.
GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS had a phenomenal month. With Gene and Shannon's relationship status as the focus, audiences flocked to the 6 year old series in larger numbers every week. The mid-season finale with Gene's marriage proposal culminated in the highest ratings yet. Series was up more than 80% over last year in the demo. Way to go Gene!
On THE GLADES, Jim and Cassie's relationship is still in the developing stages. Hopefully, so are the ratings. Audiences ere down considerably from last year, dropping 20-30% in the key demos. Numbers were also off 20% from June. The slow start to the sophomore season doesn't offer us a ton of comfort.
INTERVENTION bounced back on Mondays with target demos shooting up 20% over last year. Still, the veteran series was down measurably from June. Even with the drop in its lead-in HOARDERS, Mondays were still up low single digits from last year.
FIRST 48: MISSING PERSONS was fine on Thursdays with new episodes at 10pm. A couple of Saturday repeats pulled the averages down, but the series remains in good standing.
CRIMINAL MINDS was off considerably on Fridays. Sunday figures were much better. Nevertheless, the off-net series is looking more isolated on the schedule as the unscripted series get ever stronger.
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 GLADES, hit the schedule last summer and is now in its second season. BREAKOUT KINGS debuted in 2011 and was picked up for a sophomore run.
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, HEAVY, 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.