Comedy Central Analysis - August 2010

Author:
Updated:
Original:

AUGUST 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central is experimenting with various series and specials to replace repeats of the previous night's THE DAILY SHOW at 8pm, followed by THE COLBERT REPORT at 8:30 PM.

For the rest of the evening on most weekdays short-run series fill the last two hours, with premieres staggered throughout the year. With nearly 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined lately by FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 in that role. Friday nights are devoted to Stand-Up specials, with movies and more Stand-Up  dominating the rest of the Weekend.

Comedy Central's schedule stands out in nonfiction cable (excluding news/sports networks) because two of its highest-profile franchises, The Daily Show With John Stewart and The Colbert Report, are weekday live-to-tape productions. Comedy Central's programs are arranged on a grid rare for its dependably predictable pattern -- day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, even year-to-year. These folks surely have some of the strongest appointment viewing numbers in the business. Their audience is also unusually, enviably young - hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.

AUGUST 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison August 2010 vs. August 2009 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

17%

37%

75%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-2%

6%

0%

Wednesday 8-11pm

36%

69%

40%

Thursday 8-11pm

27%

48%

31%

Friday 8-11pm

-2%

18%

-4%

Saturday 8-11pm

0%

7%

15%

Sunday 8-11pm

1%

-5%

13%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

10%

23%

21%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Consistency was the name of the game this summer, as Comedy Central's Prime schedule only saw four half-hour time slots change fare from July, leading to double-digit demo growth over last year. Regular series occupied most of the top-10 slots this month, although the #1 program far & away was the COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST of David Hasselhoff, whose three-run average nearly doubled the overall Prime average for HH and demos.

In its third month running 9-11pm on Mondays, the off-FX series IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA grows consistently from its first to last episodes each week. The series delivers a fairly high female comp for a Comedy Central series, leading the night to the strongest annual demo growth fro W18-49 of any night in August.

Tuesdays former two hour SOUTH PARK block has been halved, with original sit-com entry BIG LAKE premiering at 10 and 1030pm half-way through the month. While four episodes may not tell the full story, the series' inability to hold much more than half of its SOUTH PARK lead-in, combined with significant declines for the 1030pm lead-out episode are not positive indications for its future.

Wednesday benefited from premiere episodes of 1030pm TOSH.0 (Season 2) which grew smartly over its SOUTH PARK lead-in. This is quite significant, even with SOUTH PARK currently in repeats, as TOSH.0 is the first series in memory to pull this off. This led not only to modest growth over the same lineup last month, but also led to strong across-the-board increases over August 2009.  Earlier in the evening, while FUTURAMA reliably held  its much-played 8-9p CHAPPELLE'S SHOW lead-in, it was replaced during August by a third run of SOUTH PARK at 9pm, which improved HH and demo delivery over FUTURAMA.

Thursdays now feature the triple-threat of TOSH.0, SOUTH PARK and three episodes of FUTURAMA. The night grows consistently form the 8:00 hour to through the 10:00 hour. While up smartly over last year, the night was essentially flat with July.

Weekend growth was driven by three runs of the COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST of David Hasselhoff. The weekend's top Movie offering was GOOD LUCK CHUCK. None of this month's Stand-Up offerings stood out.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Comedy ranks among the top 10 cablers for the 18-34 demographic, and mainly with a mix of their original series, stand-up and sketch, not off-net acquisitions like most of the other cable networks.

Originals are sketch, stand-up, reality.

Comedy over the past year or so has actively been buying movie packages from many of the big studio distributors and it doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon.

Important:

COMEDY CENTRAL and Levity Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-platform output deal for a series of stand-up specials that will premiere on the channel in 2009 and 2010.  The deal includes six stand-up specials from Christopher Titus, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco, Jim Breuer, Mitch Fatel, Pete Correale that will air in 2009 and six additional stand-up specials that will shoot in 2009 to air in 2010.  At least eight of the upcoming stand-up specials will be released on DVD by COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment.   Stand-up specials continue to be incredible success on the channel, and allows the development of comedians across all platforms.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth. Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals. Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Comedy Central knows what's funny. One of the many growing networks, they are one of the most successful for on-air, online and on-the-go mobile technology. They give their viewers access to the cutting-edge original programming, stand-up and sketch comedy, plus offbeat comedy TV series and movies. Their strategy of attracting the young male demographic continues to grow month to month whether their strategy be one off originals or stunt/holiday programming.

Comedy continues to acquire a variety of original stand-up comedy programs and specials. There are three outlets currently for talent that the network features stand-up shows: COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS, LIVE AT GOTHAM, as well as one-hour specials filmed exclusively for COMEDY CENTRAL.

Comedy, which like TBS, keeps its entire focus on comedy, has new seasons of several original series in production for 2010, including The Sarah Silverman Program, Important Things With Demetri Martin.and Tosh.0  Cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Comedy Central and The New York Comedy Festival announced a multi-year partnership deal, giving the five-day comedy showcase a national television partner for its fifth iteration.  The festival will feature a variety of top-tier comedians including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.  The multi-year national partnership will include producing an on-air special shot at the Festival which will premiere in early 2009, as well as digital media support and other content opportunities.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth.  Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals.  Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Related