APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday, with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. Saturdays are all movies and Sunday night is a mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.
APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2011 vs. April 2010 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
APRIL 2011: With uber-ratings grabber THE GAME finishing its run in the first week of April, BET's ratings dropped to their lowest level of 2011. However, the network is still pacing ahead of last year's performance, and has managed to retain much of its core women 18-49 audience from last month. Women 18-49 ratings are up 6% vs. last year, and down 5% vs. last month.
Monday as always is driven by movies, peppered with encores. Without any new specials this month (last month was RIP THE RUNWAY), Monday is the lowest rated night of the week.
Tuesday, however, is hands down the best-rated night. So much so, that Tuesday is the only night to perform above the bottom-line primetime average. And almost all of those ratings can be attributed to the aforementioned finale of THE GAME, which drew 4.4 million viewers. To give that number perspective, the BET premiere in January drew 7.7 million viewers, and the program averaged 2.1 million viewers for its old network, the CW. (BET press) But BET has a different model than the CW. The entire network rallies around THE GAME. LET'S STAY TOGETHER rides its coattails, encores appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and old seasons run through-out the week. With a dramatic cliffhanger finale, another successful season has been set up"¦the program has a whole network to support -- a lot of pressure for a half-hour sitcom in its fifth season.
The next original program to take over on Tuesday nights was TOYA: A FAMILY AFFAIR. The program is strong - its 6 telecast average is actually better among women 18-49 than this month's 18-telecast average for THE GAME. And compared to last year's iteration (TINY & TOYA 2), ratings are up 24%.
Wednesdays through Saturdays were an unexceptional mix of movies and encores, A Tyler Perry movie (Madea's Family Reunion) was a ratings standout on a Saturday. as were most encores of THE GAME.
Sundays, BET's second biggest night of the week, showed improvement over last month. THE FAMILY CREWS 2 gained 17% more women 18-49 vs. March, and 35% more women 18-49 than April 2010's first season of THE FAMILY CREWS. Even with 22% growth on women 18-49 vs. last month, Sundays were slightly off vs. last year when SUNDAY BEST was headlining. That program is scheduled to return to BET in July.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
With the successful launch of THE GAME this January, BET says it is ready to bulk up its scripted originals in 2011, particularly comedies, hoping to build on its success. But in the 2011 upfront presentation to advertisers, only one new sitcom was announced. The true strength of the network is its ability to extend a successful program across the entire line-up, i.e. THE BET AWARDS, THE GAME, etc.
Celebrity reality, musical competitions, awards programming and specials are each still an essential part of BET's overall strategy to stay young and current. Documentaries and specials with a social message are also a strong option at BET.