BET Performance/Schedule Analysis - October 2008



(Updated as of November 20, 2008)


18-34 African Americans





BET's premiere nights for new series are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. BET is trying out Thursday, the most competitive night on TV, as a premiere night for AMERICAN GANGSTER. Movies run most nights, taking up the bulk of the primetime inventory.



Latenight show THE TRUTH WITH JEFF JOHNSON made some primetime appearances in the politically charged October  '08 climate. SOMEBODIES ran back-to-back on Tuesdays and COMICVIEW; ONE MIC STAND ran back-to-back on Wednesdays, splitting up the companion programs. AMERICAN GANGSTER premiered at the end of the month on Thursdays at 10, and encored Fridays at 10. Movies were practically gone from the weekends, replaced by encores, specials and JUDGE HATCHETT and JUDGE KAREN.


** October 23 @ 8PM: 2008 BET HIP HOP AWARDS
** October 23 @ 10PM: AMERICAN GANGSTER returns


** November 11 @ 10PM: KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS returns
** November 18 @ 10:30PM: BROTHERS TO BRUTHA debuts
** Winter 2008: COLLEGE HILL INTERNS returns (?)
** Winter 2008: SUNDAY BEST returns (?)
** 2009: UNREPORTED premieres
** Winter 2009: THE BLACK PANTHER debuts
** Winter 2009: COLLEGE HILL returns
** Annual returning specials include: CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL (Winter '09); BET HONORS (Winter '09); RIP THE         RUNWAY (Winter '09); BET AWARDS '09 (Spring); SPRING BLING (Spring '09).


BET's bottom-line is down across the board this October vs. last, with household audience off by -17%, core men 18-49 audience off by -8% and women 18-49 off by -19%.

While the line-up is not as robust as it was last year, there are some similarities. THE HIP HOP AWARDS dominated the ratings both years. Last year it premiered on a Wednesday while this year it premiered on Thursday, with 17% fewer households, 19% fewer women 18-49 and 27% MORE men 18-49. AMERICAN GANGSTER began its second season in October '07 and its third in October '08. This year BET debuted the show immediately following the highly rated HIP HOP AWARDS. It lost 30% of its lead-in, but is looking stronger than last year.

There are probably more differences than similarities at the network. Missing from the line-up this year are COLLEGE HILL INTERNS (due to return soon), EXALTED (no word on a renewal), and SUNDAY BEST (reportedly returning in '08, but no sign of it yet),

Reflecting an increased reliance and investment in theatricals, there were 9 movies in primetime last October and 19 this year. There is now a movie on the air at 8PM nearly every weeknight. BET recently struck a large theatrical deal with The Weinstein Company (see ACQUISITIONS section), indicating this is a future direction of the network as well. Said new co-President of Programming, Stephen Hill, "Movies perform exceptionally well on our network, and with the addition of compelling and entertaining Weinstein films, we are confident that we will be giving our audience more of what they want." Compared to last year's movie ratings, households are off by -12%, women 18-49 are off by -7% and core men 18-49 are up by an impressive +40%. Despite those demographic shifts, the movies still skew slightly female.

The retooled BET COMICVIEW is now COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND. Last year there were just two telecasts of the show, this year there were 12, so comparisons aren't exactly apples to apples. That said, ratings for the stand-up comedy showcase are off by about one-third.

The network has named new programming heads, and we are sure to see many changes and improvements in the future.


BET kept its total household audience number level with September, while men 18-49 increased by +15% and women 18-49 increased by +7%. As we see in the night-to-night analysis, the majority of that growth stems from the annual BET HIP HOP AWARDS, which delivered audiences more than four times the average.

Monday was the only night to experience double digit declines for both men and women 18-49. Male audiences were off by one-third, while women were off by one-fifth. Movies lead off the night, followed by a different special each week, and then a different BET program. But nothing really worked - movies were off, and the lead-out programming never picked up the pace. THE TRUTH WITH JEFF JOHNSON was on a couple of times causing the women to tune out while the men barely held on.

Many of the strongest movie titles of the month ran on Tuesday nights, including You Got Served and ATL (which also ran on Tuesday nights in September). The premiere run of SOMEBODIES followed at 10, with the previous week's episode running at 10:30. Core 18-49 audience for the night was off by -10% vs. last month, with lower audiences for both movies and SOMEBODIES.

SOMEBODIES had 18 total telecasts of four different episodes this month. BET is not a network that is afraid to give a program a lot of chances for viewership. Compared to last month, women 18-49 viewing is down by -19%, but men 18-49 are showing more interest in the show, with a +29% audience gain. The show has a 50/50 male/female split.

Wednesdays firmed up as a night of movies followed by two telecasts of COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND. Male viewing stayed the same while women dropped by -10%. The whole run of COMICVIEW (18 telecasts) was down by -20% among adults 18-49 this month.

Thursday brought THE HIP HOP AWARDS, and +67% bigger 18-49 audiences than last month. AMERICAN GANGSTER made its third season debut after the awards show, and was really the only other bright spot of the night.

Fridays also showed strong increases on the heels of THE HIP HOP AWARDS repeat telecast. JEFF JOHNSON made a couple of primetime Friday appearances, and again, audiences tuned out, as the show dropped more than half of its lead-in.

Saturdays showed marked improvement among men (+44%) with more HIP HOP AWARDS and AMERICAN GANGSTER repeats leading the way. Women showed no movement.

Sundays took a big programming change, adding JUDGE KAREN and JUDGE HATCHETT to the line up. They gained strength among women viewers each week. The week they weren't on a GIRLFRIENDS marathon did extremely well with women viewers. For the month, Sunday nights were down by one-third for men, put up +35% for women 18-49. Older women enjoyed the new Sunday night programming as well, and the median age rose +43%.


From BET's press release: KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS returned for its third season on Tuesday, November 11 and is now BET's #1 original series season premiere telecast of all time. A total of 1.4 million households and 1.94 million viewers tuned in. The third season premiere of KEYSHIA COLE posted a 10% increase in viewing among households versus last year's premiere, maintaining the series' consistent year-to-year household growth with each season premiere (1.18 million and 1.24 million households for season one and two, respectively).

Additionally, episode two of KEYSHIA COLE aired immediately after the premiere and built on those strong lead-in numbers, scoring a 1.67 coverage rating and drawing 1.5 million households and 2.0 million viewers. Episode two of season three now stands as BET's #1 original series telecast so far this year.

Also, the special sneak peek of BET's new original series BROTHERS TO BRUTHA, which debuted after KEYSHIA COLE, scored a solid 1.02 coverage rating, with 901,000 households and 1.1 million viewers tuning in.


BET Networks and The Weinstein Company (TWC) are working together for the first time on a four-movie deal involving first network-window premiere rights. The titles include The Longshots (starring Keke Palmer), Soul Men (starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac) and Hurricane Season (starring Forest Whitaker), as well as a portion of the network window rights to The Great Debaters (starring Denzel Washington). Furthermore, BET's 106 & PARK  broadcast the red carpet premiere show of Soul Men on October 28, renaming it 106 & SOUL MEN for that night. BET will also air a primetime special around Hurricane Season, featuring a town hall meeting from John Ehret High School in Marrero, LA with students and the film's actors and producers.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman and other Tyler Perry theatricals are rumored to be sharing a window with Turner.




None announced.