AUGUST 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.
AUGUST 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
SUNDAY BEST was the pace-setter at BET this month, as the fourth season of the competition series brought bigger and older audiences to the net. Overall, primetime women 18-49 ratings were up by 22% vs. last year, and down just 5% vs. last month. Median age surpassed the 18-34 target for the first time in July, and again this month.
While the line-up hasn’t changed much from last year, there were some significant differences. Last year movies were the driving force for BET, with the average movie rating topping all other primetime program averages. This year the average rating for movies fell below the primetime average. Last year the original programming on the air was docu/reality fare – THE FAMILY CREWS and TREY SONGZ. This year the programming focus was music / reality / competition as SUNDAY BEST and BORN TO DANCE: LAURIE ANN GIBSON were the only two regularly scheduled series.
On average, both of those programs performed significantly better than last year’s docu-series.
BORN TO DANCE took over BET;s signature Tuesday 10PM slot, and was able to build audience from its lead-in movie. However, the audience didn’t stay with the program and ratings slipped by 20% or more with each consecutive week. But you never know when a show is going to catch on. SUNDAY BEST is in its fourth season, and its ratings have never been better.
There were three specials in primetime this month. AALIYAH: ONE IN A MILLION aired on 8/25 and ranked behind SUNDAY BEST as August’s top telecast on women 18-49. The other specials were not as successful in the ratings department. Another encore of THE SOUL TRAIN AWARDS and JAY-Z & KANYE WEST both delivered sub-par ratings. But image and cachet are as important as ratings for specials, and they continue to be an important component of the BET line-up,
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
BET continues to put forth a limited line-up, but it is ready to expand. REED BETWEEN THE LINES, the network’s third original sitcom this year premieres in the fall. Network head Debra Lee says she wants to take BET into drama next, and the network has announced its first made-for-TV-movie, Gun Hill. "I want BET to establish itself as a content creator," she says, "and give our audience images of themselves that they are not getting anywhere else."