CMT Analysis



CMT is turning Country Music into a lifestyle by developing reality shows based around rural-America and male-targeted themes (sports, rednecks, the South). While music remains the theme for movies and specials, the network has recently enjoyed success with original reality series such as MY BIG REDNECK VACATION and SWAMP PAWN.

The sitcom REBA is the network’s go-to acquisition and occupies the 8PM timeslot every weekday. The popularity of this sitcom helps draw viewers to original series repeats that air throughout the week.

Premiere episodes of these original series are dedicated to Friday and Saturday nights. Saturdays have been home to most of the rural-America themed series such as BAYOU BILLIONAIRES and REDNECK ISLAND while competition shows (DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS) air on Fridays.

CMT's 2013 upfront event announced several new projects that will hit the airways this year. As 2012 saw some of the network's highest ratings from rural-themed original programming like MY BIG REDNECK VACATION, the new year's lineup will attempt to continue with that success. DOG AND BETH: ON THE HUNT and GUNTUCKY will premiere in the spring. New series HILLBILLIES FOR HIRE and THE DIRTY SOUTH (from the producers of THE JERSEY SHORE) will launch in the summer and fall respectively. Acquired Fox series, COPS RELOADED, will join the lineup this spring.

Country music won't be forgotten, and a new project starring a recent winner of THE VOICE, Cassadee Pope, is in the works for 2013. A "News & Docs" division will stay current with entertainment news telling in-depth stories through the CMT filter.

All of these programs will beef up their collection of original programming, spread them throughout the week, and surely draw new audiences to the network.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /February 2013 vs. February 2012  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

The primetime schedule at CMT this month offered a bit less variety than in January. February continued with two original reality series, MY BIG REDNECK VACATION and SWAMP PAWN. These both premiered new episodes on Saturday nights, and repeats were scattered throughout the week. These weekly repeats pulled very low ratings, causing their average viewership to drop. SWAMP PAWN fell a whopping 53% among men 25-54 and 40% among women 25-54. MY BIG REDNECK VACATION also dropped by about 25% in both of the same demos. However, despite these big losses, episode premieres were big hitters and the same demos showed solid monthly gains on their premiere Saturday nights.

Weeknights at CMT continue to offer a steady dose of REBA (loved by the ladies), followed by either original series repeats or COUNTRY MUSIC THEATER movies. REBA definitely rates best among women 25-54, and the 9-11pm hours will see a shift when men 25-54 come over to watch the movies and original series. The numbers during the workweek don’t vary too much, and stayed very close to what the network saw last month, with the exception of a couple demo bumps on certain nights.

Wednesdays saw a big monthly jump among men 25-54. This demo gained 57% over last month due to some popular male-skewed movies like Joe Dirt, Gridiron Gang, and National Lampoon’s European Vacation. These three movies all pulled stronger ratings among men when compared to Wednesdays in January.

The other notable monthly gain was on Friday nights when women 25-54 jumped 50% over January. This night offered a steady schedule of REBA followed by COUNTRY MUSIC THEATER movies. Two of these movies (Son in Law and Overboard) drew strong numbers among women, which caused the boost in that demo.

The weekends draw significantly higher ratings among both men and women. Both men and women 25-54 are attracted to the original reality series that CMT offers. Premiere episodes of MY BIG REDNECK VACATION (now in its third season) and newcomer SWAMP PAWN air on Saturday nights, which were by far, the highest rated nights of the week. In fact, the 4 premiere episodes of each show were among the top 12 individual telecasts for both men and women 25-54. The monthly gains for both demos were big: 33% among men and 44% among women.

Sunday nights repeated Saturday's premiere episodes right away, and these encores brought ratings that dropped lower than weeknight numbers. The biggest loss was among the female demo, which lost 40% from last month.

Annual changes differed significantly from the afore-mentioned monthly changes. As illustrated in the above chart, it’s clear to see the notable annual loss that CMT is experiencing for the third month in a row. The schedule in February 2012 similarly offered original series premieres on Saturday nights, and a slew of movies throughout the week. REBA was not around last year, but acquisitions like KITCHEN NIGHTMARES and EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION rounded out the weeknight schedule. The biggest losses were among men 25-54. However, women 25-54 actually saw some substantial gains (40% gain on Tuesdays!). This can be attributed to the popularity of REBA among that demo. This show doesn’t resonate with men, however, who have been watching less CMT despite the seemingly strong numbers from Saturday night original series. Since the 8-9pm weekly timeslot is dedicated to a female-driven show, the male-skewed movies and specials that follow aren’t enticing the male demo as much as it did last year.

In March, a news special dedicated to Mindy McCready will air on the 10th. CMT NEWS PRESENTS: MINDY MCCREADY FALLEN ANGEL will document her life and career and examine the final days leading up to her tragic death.