Perhaps more than any other network in cable, Bravo has a "feel." It's bright, highly energetic and exudes an urban, upscale, sassy sensibility. The network has kept that vibe from becoming snobbish or off-putting with a winking admission that this is all just good, light, entertaining fun -- and everyone's invited. And though that's mostly work accomplished in development, production and post efforts, it's also a scheduling strategy. There's almost never a show on Bravo's air that feels out of place. So, even though they stack very heavily, a viewer watching at, say, 9pm every night, will see a different program each day, but still feel very much a Bravo viewer.
At the 2013 Real Screen Summit, Shari Levine, SVP of current productions, revealed the recipe for success for HOUSEWIVES; five to six over-the-top, unapologetic women, with fabulous homes, families and a cute pet. She also addressed the version set in DC, which only lasted one season. “Although it was an interesting first season, there was a sense of no place to go. Their numbers were pretty good, but it wasn’t a buzzy show.”
Bravo defines and schedules its programming around themes of food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture.
JANUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
JANUARY 2013: Bolstered by an ever-increasing roster of programming, Bravo was able to post solid gains at the start of the new year, lifting women 18-49 ratings by 5% vs. last month and by 12% vs. last year.
Once again the biggest ratings and the biggest gains came on Sunday night as both REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA and SHAHS OF SUNSET drew big audiences. The schedule was shifted slightly – the REAL HOUSEWIVES premiere ran at 8PM instead of 9PM and the encore moved to 10PM the same night instead of 8PM the following week. SHAHS moved from 10PM to 9PM. Whether it was increased interest in the programs or the new scheduling strategy, ratings for both programs grew vs. last month. Numbers were also up significantly from last year, up 48% for women 18-49 and up 63% for women 25-54. Last year’s Sunday night line-up featured REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA and CHEF ROBLE & CO.
Mondays were one of the few nights to lose audience vs. last year, but that is strictly due to the scheduling of a low-rated movie on New Year’s Day this year. REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS was the headliner both years, and it improved performance by 51% over last year. Supporting player in the 10PM slot last year was IT’S A BRAD BRAD WORLD, which had luke-warm ratings in 2012. This year the supporting player (don’t tell her I called her that) is VANDERPUMP RULES, which was an instant hit, pulling numbers well above BRAD, the primetime average, and all other January programs except BEVERLY HILLS, SHAHS and ATLANTA.
Tuesday nights HOUSEWIVES repeats were capped off with MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS at the beginning of the month and encores of MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER at the end of the month. Neither did as well as last year’s TABATHA TAKES OVER, but the HOUSEWIVES encores saved the night.
Wednesdays feature a TOP CHEF premiere and encore each week. Through the tenth season the audience has been building, but lagging behind previous seasons. But it looks like it is finally hitting its stride this January as numbers meet or beat last year and last month. Bravo has announced an 11th season.
MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER and KATHY took over Thursday nights this month, handily topping last year’s line-up of various HOUSEWIVES encores, but not last month’s new eps of HOUSEWIVES OF MIAMI. MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER had a few stellar runs this month. KATHY’s audience needs to find the show.
Friday and Saturday are largely ignored by Bravo, running off-brand movies from the Universal library or inconsistently scattered encores of various REAL HOUSEWIVES. With all the new programming heading to Bravo, (including scripted fare) establishing a programming beachhead on either night would be a big boost to the bottom line.