Bravo Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 29, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

FASHION SHOW(REALITY)
Hosted by Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland, follows professional designers as they strive to make their mark in the world of fashion and compete for a chance to have their designs sold for the mass retail market.
Status: Premiere Date: May 7th at 10pm.


NEW YORK CITY PREP (DOCU/REALITY)
A docu-series that follows a clique of six real-life Blair Waldorfs  living it up on New York's Upper East Side.

REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY

The latest in the HOUSEWIVESfranchise follows five affluent Garden State housewives through their daily lives. Unlike previous series (Orange County, New York City) some of these women know one another well.


TOP CHEF MASTERS (REALITY)
A spinoff of Bravo's tentpole competition series where the tables will turn on TOP CHEF'S roster of celebrity gastronomes, as kitchen artists like Wylie Dufresne and Anita Lo will compete for the eponymous title and $100,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice.


JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE


TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

NYC PREP, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY, FASHION SHOW, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY, TOP CHEF MASTERS

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

This is a female-leaning network, but plenty of men show up, too. As much as any 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.

The schedule balances original series with Hollywood movies and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, an off-broadcast acquisition. Everything on the network is an hourlong except for movie blocks. In July there were two of these: all of primetime on Friday night and on Saturday, two hours starting at 9pm.

July's schedule included a lot of change. The presence of the network's hottest title, the REAL HOUSEWIVES OF franchise, was scaled back considerably (see below). This freed up a lot of real estate. Where in June there were only 4 original series in primetime, July's schedule contained eight. They were: MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY, KATIE GRIFFIN: MY LIFE ON THE D-LIST, NYC PREP, MIAMI SOCIAL, TOP CHEF MASTERS and FASHION SHOW


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** August 17 - FLIPPING OUT - Season 3
** August 25 - RACHEL ZOE PROJECT - Season 2

** August 26 - TOP CHEF LAS VEGAS

** September 16 - LAUNCH MY LINE - New


JUNE 2009 MONTHLY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

July 2008 vs. July 2009:

HH

M25-54

P25-54

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

18%

-13%

22%

41%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-6%

-29%

-19%

-11%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-43%

-25%

-40%

-45%

Thursday 8-11pm

45%

-31%

22%

45%

Friday 8-11pm

10%

31%

24%

17%

Saturday 8-11pm

-39%

-13%

-32%

-43%

Sunday 8-11pm

22%

-14%

13%

30%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-7%

-17%

-8%

-6%


*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Uh-oh. After some strong months in a row, largely driven by the success of the growing REAL HOUSEWIVES OF franchise, Bravo had a rough July. It illustrates the joys of perils of scheduling a network with a runaway hit franchise. See: TLC/JOHN & KATE. Much of the trouble had to do with reducing the schedule real estate devoted to episodes of one REAL HOUSEWIVES OF series, or another. In June, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF had eight regularly scheduled primetime appearances per week, on five different nights. In June, it showed up just three times, on two nights.

The impact? Through the week, primetime was down HH 25%, compared to June. Women, younger and older, were both off even more; HH 35% and HH 36%, respectively. Every single one of the four nights that were down by HH double digits had lost at least an hour of REAL HOUSEWIVES OF compared to June. Tuesdays, which lost two hours of the franchise (it had been a three hour stack last month) were off HH 65% and nearly HH 70% in both categories of women. If all of that's likely to be troubling to Bravo's executives, it's also pretty straightforward: REAL HOUSEWIVES OF episodes are extremely popular, even when compared with its other strong titles.

What a difference a month makes. Here's a quote from last month's analyses: "Acquired programming (Movies and LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT) seemed like ballast, holding down a schedule that wanted to fly. In May, they had been heroes. A scheduler's life is not an easy one." Darn right on that final point. In July, the only two nights with statistically meaningful improvement over June were Friday and Sunday, where those properties reside. Phew. One month's ceiling is another month's floor.

Year-to-year, July was down throughout the week HH 7%. Various night's swings were wildly divergent  (Wednesdays down HH 43%, Thursdays up HH45%).

As always, the top twenty telecast list is fun and informative. Three powerhouses stood out: FASHION SHOW (4), LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (6) and TOP CHEF MASTERS (3) each had three titles in the top ten. Half of all FASHION SHOWS that aired made it into the top twenty, as did two thirds of the LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENTS and a quarter of the TOP CHEF MASTERS. Nice ratios if you can get 'em.

A troubling tidbit that Bravo executives will probably keep their eyes on: Throughout the schedule -- not just primetime, as the rest of this analyses addresses exclusively -- every single top series was down from July. These are tricky numbers, where percentages derived from 40 airings one month might be compared an average based on only four telecasts. Still, when every top series is down, it's bound to be worrying.

This is a very sophisticated network. They recovered brilliantly from the loss of PROJECT RUNWAY to Lifetime, in a strange court battle. They're as good at anyone at creating a sense of network identity, viewer loyalty and advertiser tie-ins. Sharpen your development pencils, producers. These smart executives are thinking hard about how to manage the REAL HOUSEWIVES OF franchise while helping other series to thrive, and looking ahead to what's next. Nothing lasts forever.


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:


None announced


PROGRAM RENEWALS:

KATHY GRIFFIN: MY LIFE ON THE D-LIST (season #5) 
FLIPPING OUT (8/09)
MILLION DOLLAR LISTING (season #3)
THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT (8/09)
TABITHA'S TAKEOVER SALON (season #2)
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA (season #2)
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY (season #5)
SHEAR GENIUS (Season 3)
INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO (season #15)
TOP CHEF (season #6)
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK - Season 3 (2010)

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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