BET Performance/Schedule Analysis - September 2008



(Updated as of October 25, 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. Movies run most nights, taking up the bulk of the primetime inventory.



SOMEBODIES and COMICVIEW premiered in early September, and became a one-hour block at 10PM on four different nights - Tuesdays (premiere night), Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. BALDWIN HILLS 2 finished up in August, and was not back in September. BLACK CARPET moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays.


** September 2 @ 10PM: COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND debuts
** September 9 @ 10:30PM: SOMEBODIES debuts


** October 23 @ 8PM: 2008 BET HIP HOP AWARDS
** October 23 @ 10PM: AMERICAN GANGSTER returns
** Fall 2008: BRUTHA premieres
** Fall 2008: COLLEGE HILL INTERNS returns
** Fall 2008: JUDGE KAREN premieres in daytime, and receives occasional weekend prime runs along with
** Fall 2008: SUNDAY BEST returns
** November 11 @ 10PM: KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS returns
** 2009: UNREPORTED premieres
** Winter 2009: THE BLACK PANTHER premieres
** 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).


Despite some big differences in the programs on the air this year vs. last, BET's bottom-line performance was basically the same as last year's. Households and women 18-49 lost just 5% of their audience and men 18-49 held steady.

This time last year the network had a full primetime roster of original and acquired programming, and network head Reg Hudlin said they were just getting started. A year later, only a few new programs have debuted, Reg Hudlin has stepped down, and the network has been quiet about future plans.

Last year's line-up included ten regularly scheduled programs that are not on the air this year: BALDWIN HILLS; BET COMICVIEW; JAMIE FOXX; HELL DATE; MEET THE FAITH; RUNS HOUSE; SOB; WAYANS BROTHERS; WE GOT TO DO BETTER and THE WIRE, Programs that did return from last year saw significant declines: movies dropped one-quarter of men 18-49 and ten percent of women 18-49, BLACK CARPET dropped more than a third of its audience, ACCESS GRANTED lost about one-fifth, and GIRLFRIENDS about one-third.

Beyond movies, a one-hour block of comedy dominates this year's line-up: COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND and SOMEBODIES. The majority of last year's programs performed better than these two. Of particular interest, after its transformation from BET COMICVIEW to COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND, the program lost 24% of households, 6% of men 18-49 and 30% of women 18-49 audiences vs. September '07.

Movies played a key role in holding up BET's bottom-line this year vs. last. As we said, movies overall did better last year, but they still placed five of the top ten telecasts in September '08. Volume is the key here. Last year 13 movies were scheduled, this year 21 were on the primetime line-up. Even with lower overall audiences, movies as a whole performed better than all of this month's total program averages, and so they were able to hold up the primetime average.


BET dropped about 10% of its household and women 18-49 audiences and 5% of its core men 18-49 viewers compared to August. The median age of the network dropped by 11%, but that has more to do with the older demos tuning out (men 25-54 down -20%) than younger demos tuning in.

Monday night lost about 10% of its audience over last month, with both movies and lead-out programming performing slightly lower.

Tuesday, premiere night, was the only night with significant change vs. last month. COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND debuted on the 2nd and SOMEBODIES debuted on the 9th, both replacing August's BALDWIN HILLS 2. An interesting programming move; there is consistency in keeping Tuesday as premiere night but the programs target different audiences; the female skewing docureality of BALDWIN HILLS vs. the young male skewing humor of COMICVIEW and SOMEBODIES. Audience levels for the night changed accordingly - households were down -21%, women 18-49 and 25-54 were down by more than a third, men 25-54 were down -22%, and men 18-49 showed a +7% increase.

Since its premiere, SOMEBODIES saw a lot of women 18-49 drop off, but the core men 18-49 demo is fairly steady. The program did better when it came right off the movie lead-in instead of COMICVIEW, which would make sense given the similar content of most of BET's movies with the single-camera comedy. BET has announced it will be trying out SOMEBODIES at 10 AND COMICVIEW at 10:30 in the future.

The retooled COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND was all over the schedule this month with 24 telecasts of five different episodes. Last month's three telecasts of the old COMICVIEW performed 25% to 50% better, but if we just look at the premiere telecasts of ONE MIC STAND, it did show healthy improvement over the old version. Again, it's a matter of finding that right balance of encores.

Wednesdays were up slightly this month with movies being the driving force here.

Thursday showed the best improvement of the week; household audience improved by +36%, men 18-49 rose +23% and women 18-49 grew by an impressive +74%.  The line-up was consistently movie/ COMICVIEW / SOMEBODIES. Again, it was movies making the difference, with top performers of the week Madea's Family Reunion and The Salon both running on Thursdays. Note that both of these titles also ran in August. In fact, there were a healthy handful (or unhealthy handful, depending on how you look at it) of returning movies this month.

The story and the line-up was basically the same Friday through Sunday. Movies shared the night with repeats of COMICVIEW and SOMEBODIES. The success of each night depended on the movie's performance. Strong movie titles through the weekend included ATL Movie, Holiday Heart, The Salon (with two more runs) and South Central.


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.



BET COMICVIEW got a renewal and a make-over, with a new setting a new title, COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND, and a new host - comedian Kevin Hart.


None announced.