FEBRUARY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8, with original programming or encores running at 10. This February, THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER took over that role to some degree. 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.
FEBRUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2011 vs. February 2010 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FEBRUARY 2011: While not as strong as last month's game-changing performance, February 2011 was one of BET's best months in recent history. In January, BET tried its hand at original scripted dramas again, but this time it worked. THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER propelled the network to some of its best ratings ever. The programs lost some of that audience this month, but were still contenders and the driving forces behind this month's success.
In true BET-style, there were four new episodes of THE GAME this month, and 17 encores. That was enhanced with an additional 25 telecasts of older seasons of the program. Still, the program average for the new season (season 4) was the top-rated program for the month. The four premiere telecasts were the four top-rated telecasts of the month. However, each successive week drew lower ratings. As expected, the program also dropped considerable levels of audience vs. January, its premiere month (nearly 40% of women 18-49).
LET'S STAY TOGETHER, the other scripted-original to launch in January, also received a total of 21 telecasts in February. THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER comprised about 40% of BET's primetime. LET'S STAY TOGETHER dropped about 17% of its premiere month audience, which is actually a relatively solid number. This month's four new episodes of LET'S STAY TOGETHER comprised the number 5 through number 8 spot on the ratings ranker, right behind THE GAME. Which is all a long way of saying that the two new scripted programs dominated BET again this month.
There were some other things happening at BET as well. Movies usually rule the top telecast list, but only one title made the list this month (Love & Basketball Movie), even though ratings for movies as a whole were even with last month and up 9% vs. last year. THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER have started to bump out the 8PM movie from its lead-in role.
THE BET HONORS premiered on the 21st, delivering ratings that were above the monthly average, but one-third lower than last year's show, when it was at the top of the ratings charts.
The rest of the line-up was comprised of underperforming episodes of JAMIE FOXX, GIRLFRIENDS, THE MONIQUE SHOW and more encores of THE CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
2009 was a watershed year for BET as the new network programmers streamlined the line-up, pushed event programming to a new level and focused on their core women viewers. Without a deep bench of programming initiatives to follow up with, 2010 loomed as a difficult sophomore year. But, smart scheduling helped keep the numbers steady, and the average 2010 rating among those target women 18-49 fell by just .01 vs. the 2009 average. With the successful launch of THE GAME this January, BET is now ready to bulk up its scripted originals in 2011, particularly comedies, hoping to build on its success.
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.