(Updated as of November 24, 2008)
TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:
Top rated regularly scheduled programs are usually shows from the HEROES STRAND: ANIMAL COPS DETROIT, ANIMAL COPS HOUSTON, ANIMAL PRECINCT, MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE. But this month they did not make the top five. The top spots went to IT'S ME OR THE DOG, WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY, DOGS 101 and UNTAMED AND UNCUT.
The best performing specials this October were:
FAT PETS; WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG COMPETITION; HIPPO: AFRICA'S KING RIVER; SEVEN DEADLY STRIKES; TIGER - SPY IN THE JUNGLE
Thematic scheduling around animals / species is a favorite strategy that is employed quite often. The COPS/PRECINCT block, known as HEROES is typically stripped at 10pm, and blocked out on Mondays. (Although the net seems to be backing away from the strip, now offering other programming in the 10PM slot on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays). Tuesdays lean toward the wild or raw side of animal life, Fridays lean toward "reality" programming (MEERKAT MANOR, LEMUR KINGDOM), and Saturdays feature programming that revolves around dogs. Thursdays and Sundays used to be programmed differently every week, with high-profile specials or repurposed weekday programming, but Sundays are firming up with more regularly scheduled programming and specials that explore the wilder, untamed animal themes.
SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2008
The network is playing around with the 10PM HEROES strand, switching it to 9PM on Wednesdays, and eliminating from Saturdays and Sundays. WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY and UNTAMED AND UNCUT flip-flopped at 8 & 9 on Tuesdays. LIVING WITH THE WOLFMAN premiered on Tuesday, October 21 preempting another HEROES night. On Wednesdays THE GRIZZLY MAN DIARIES airs at 8PM, replacing AFTER THE ATTACK. ANIMAL PRECINCT (a HEROES PROGRAM) airs at 9PM replacing ANIMAL WITNESS, and new series, K9 COPS runs at 10PM. Thursdays are still various specials. K9 COPS encores on Friday night at 9PM, replacing GRIZZLY MAN DIARIES. Saturday brings us DOGS 101 at 8PM, replacing two of the four telecasts of IT'S ME OR THE DOG.
** October 1 @ 10PM: K9 COPS (new series)
** October 11 @ 8PM - 9PM: DOGS 101/CATS 101 (10 ep series)
** October 11 @ 9PM: IT'S ME OR THE DOG (new season)
** October 21 @ 10PM: LIVING WITH THE WOLFMAN (new series)
** October 30 @ 9 & 9:30PM: HOWL-O-WEEN specials: LOST TAPE
NOVEMBER AND BEYOND:
** November 7 @ 9PM: WHALE WARS (new series)
** November 9 @ 7PM: ORANGUTAN INSLAND (season 2 premiere)
** November specials include: THE VANISHING FROG on Thursday, November 20th from 8 to 9PM
** December specials include DANCING WITH DOGS (December 6th), HEROES WEEK (Dec 8-12), 2008, THE YEAR IN ANIMALS (December 13th), ANIMAL GLADIATORS (December 14th).
YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:
Yet again, Animal Planet was barely able to move the needle on its primetime audiences vs. last year. There was absolutely no change in share across the board, while ratings picked up +3% on households, +7% on adults 18-49 and +6% on women 25-54. Median age and male/female skew remained the same.
Of course there was a lot of movement on a night to night basis. On Tuesdays and Sundays the audience picked up considerably vs. last year, with +24% household ratings growth on both nights,+69% growth on Tuesdays and +38% growth on Sundays. The "programming with teeth," as they call it at AP (WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY and UNTAMED AND UNCUT) made the difference here.
The other area of significant growth came from women on Saturday nights. The new program DOGS 101 joined IT'S ME OR THE DOG on that night, and brought in 86% higher women 25-54 ratings.
Wednesdays and Fridays saw mixed results from last year, while Thursdays were down across the board. The only night without big declines or increases was Monday, the only night where the programming remained the same from last year.
OCTOBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Again, there was not much movement in Animal Planet's bottom-line primetime ratings. There was absolutely no change in share for any demo. Household and women audiences also saw zero change. Men 18-49 ratings climbed +17% and men 25-54 ratings climbed +7%, but remember the low ratings result in exaggerated percentage changes.
Monday nights is all HEROES programming, but without new telecasts on the air, the numbers are slipping. The night lost about 15% of its audience from last month, and is the lowest rated night for men,
Tuesdays showed improvement among men again, with the back-to-back UNTAMED AND UNCUT / WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY line-up. It's the best-rated night for men; they grew ratings by +38% among 18-49s and +11% among the 25-54s. LIVING WITH THE WOLFMAN premiered the last week of the month, and did not do as well as its timeslot predecessors (UNTAMED & UNCUT, MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE, ANIMAL COPS PHILADELPHIA).
Wednesdays in October brought ANIMAL PLANET's new series, K9 COPS. The program was easily the ratings winner of the night, consistently topping ANIMAL PRECINCT and GRIZZLY MAN DIARIES. Among all programs, its ratings fall in the middle of the pack.
Thursday night's mix of specials didn't resonate with audiences, as numbers were down -10% or so across the board. It is the lowest rated night among adults 18-49 and adults 245-54.
Friday was flat to up this month, with repeats of K9 COPS at 9 and HEROES programming at 10. The network tried out a slew of programs for the lead-in; the winners were the male skewing "wild side" genre - WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY and HEADLINE ATTACKS.
Saturday is for the dogs on Animal Planet, and the night continues to grow audience. DOGS 101 joined the line-up AT 8PM with decent numbers, and it seems to have revitalized IT'S ME OR THE DOG AT 9PM. Household ratings for the night are up by +31%, adult ratings are up by +25%. The core audience here is women 25-54, it's their best-rated night, and their ratings jumped by +37% vs. September.
Sunday is the other big night for the "programming with teeth," UNTAMED AND UNCUT / WEIRD, TRUE AND FREAKY. It is a strong night for all men and for adults 25-54, but has not grown much among men vs. last month. Its small gains with women were enough to put the night back to a female skew.