OCTOBER 2010 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. 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.
OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2010 vs. October 2009 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
OCTOBER 2010: An average month ratings wise, in an average year. Last year saw exceptional growth as the new network programmers cleaned up the line-up and focused on women. The annual 2009 BET MUSIC AWARDS coincided with Michael Jackson's passing, and helped propel the year's ratings to the best on record. However, 2010 has seen the rating shrink as reality show after reality show comes and goes, failing to resonate. While ratings are not back down to 2008 levels, they are not at 2009 levels either.
This month's highlight was undoubtedly the 2010 BET HIP HOP AWARDS. The fifth annual ceremony aired on Tuesday October 12th, hosted by Mike Epps, and was the best rated telecast of the month. Last year's fourth annual ceremony also aired on a Tuesday in October and was hosted by Mike Epps. This year's ratings were 15% lower among men 18-49 and 3% better on women 18-49. The top rated women 18-49 telecast of the month was, of course, the premiere airing of the awards show. The second-best rated telecast was the encore (aired on 10/27), and the third best was the celebrity-reality show BEING TERRY KENNEDY, which was introduced at 10PM right after the HIP HOP AWARDS.
TERRY KENNEDY is the celebrity/reality show of the month. Even with its strong debut, its eight primetime telecasts underdelivered the network average.
The network was more about specials this month, as THE GAME and even movies took a back seat. 106 & PARK had a 10-year celebration show, which earned a spot in the top ten list. TOP 10 RAPPERS, another special, earned a 12th place finish.
The bottom line was a younger but smaller audience in a month where specials drove the train.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
The inherent short-lived nature of celebrity reality isn't helping BET's long-term picture. The network relies on encores and repeats to fill out its thin bench, but the genre doesn't hold up to multiple viewings.
BET's strategy is to focus on what it does best, awards shows and celebrity reality with a musical twist. The 2010 strategy was to string together one short-lived celebrity reality show after another...FAMILY CREWS into TINY & TOYA into TREY SONGZ into TERRY KENNEDY. When a program strikes a chord, it is literally played until it is played out. 2011 is slated to start out with two new scripted series, a genre BET hasn't had much luck with in the past. But a fresh start for the new year is definitely called for at BET.
New formats and programs are still viable. The net is giving scripted dramas another try, and documentaries and specials with a social message are always a strong programming option.