A&E Performance/Schedule Analysis - December 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of January 18, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Strongest demo is P25-54, with a female skew for most programs.

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

INTERVENTION, DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, CSI: MIAMI, MANHUNTERS, THE FIRST 48

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 crime, pop culture, celeb-reality, and paranormal.  Most of the series tend to be half hours scheduled back to back to fill the slot. 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have been all CSI: MIAMI, all the time for the last few months, with a few exceptions.  The traditional Friday home was expanded to Sundays as reality repeats faded out.  Saturdays had been real estate and DIY, then theatrical features, and finally more CSI: MIAMI with a SOPRANOS thrown in for good measure. 

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

NOVEMBER to DECEMBER:

Tuesday - Back to back episodes of MANHUNTERS premieres in the 10pm slot, replacing THE ROOKIES

Saturday - CSI MIAMI/SOPRANOS are back knocking out for the A&E MOVIE

PREMIERES:

** December 9th - MANHUNTERS: FUGITIVE TASK FORCE

JANUARY AND BEYOND

PREMIERES:

** December 9th - MANHUNTERS: FUGITIVE TASK FORCE
** January 15th - THE BEAST
** January 19th - PARANORMAL STATE (Season 3)
** February 4th - THE EXTERMINATORS   

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Last year December was good.  This year it was better.  Not by a wide margin, but still better.  Adults 18-49 and 25-54 were each up 2%.  Target women were up by the same numbers.  Month to month increases from November were strong as well, a pattern we've seen in previous years. 

MANHUNTERS, the one premiere series for the month is largely responsible for the improvements.  Year ago January was a big month.  The schedule's going to need click on a few more mights to keep the pace.  The much talked about premiere of THE BEAST with Patrick Swayze will probably be the difference maker.

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Mondays were down single digits in adults, driven by losses in women versus last year.  Understandable given that Monday last year featured the debut of PARANORMAL STATE and a few premieres of INTERVENTION.  A couple of very strong premiere episodes of INTERVENTION this year helped keep things within shouting distance, but didn't get much support from the inventory repeats around them.

Tuesdays were the new star of the week.  MANHUNTERS premiered the second week of the month and has been a resounding success.  It was the top rated series of the month and the second best in terms of target demo delivery after INTERVENTION.  Those numbers were only tempered by the lesser repeat ratings on Mondays.  Not your classic cop show, MANHUNTERS has a look and tempo that condenses long investigations into the short time frame required by today's audiences,without losing the details that typically get left on the cutting room floor.

Wednesdays were up, but only because last year was so low.  Repeat stacks of DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER were holding their own.  Can't say the same for PARKING WARS.  Premiere episodes declined each week in December.  Compared to MANHUNTER, maybe the lighter side of crime doesn't hold the same appeal.

Thursdays were all stacks of FIRST 48 repeats, just like last year.  Numbers were down single digits in adults and right around 10% in women.  The drop in target women is notable for this anchor series.  Careful with burnout.  Still, the night ends up as the second strongest night of the week lagging behind the revived Tuesdays.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were practically all CSI MIAMI all the time, with only a SOPRANOS airing on Saturday breaking up the party.  Friday and Sundays were mirror images of each other, overindexing on total audiences and underindexing on target demos.  Saturdays were the lowest night of the week, pulled down by Tony and the gang.  Just can't seem to get those young folks interested in a nice family from New Jersey.


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

CRIMINAL MINDS - acquired exclusive cable rights beginning 9/09; began airing weekly in May, 2008;

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

THE CLEANER (2009); INTERVENTION; PARANORMAL STATE (1/09)

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

SELL THIS HOUSE!, COLD CASE FILES, PRIVATE SESSIONS, AMERICAN JUSTICE, THE SOPRANOS, CROSSING JORDAN

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