Comedy Central Analysis - September 2011

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SEPTEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central is adept at mixing original series with acquisitions such as ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and SCRUBS to deliver consistent young adult audiences. Their strategy of using established lead-ins such as SOUTH PARK to introduce new hits such as TOSH.0 has paid off: top-rated TOSH.0 is now being used in a similar fashion to introduce new series. The latest debut to benefit from a TOSH.0 lead-in, WORKAHOLICS, was renewed for a second season after only four episodes.

With over 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined 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 JON 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.

SEPTEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison September 2011 vs. September 2010 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

10%

50%

26%

Tuesday 8-11pm

24%

42%

54%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-14%

-6%

-38%

Thursday 8-11pm

-5%

0%

-7%

Friday 8-11pm

16%

5%

9%

Saturday 8-11pm

25%

 -7%

30%

Sunday 8-11pm

41%

48%

72%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

14%

19%

19%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

After two straight months of modest double-digit declines, Comedy Central bounced back in September, fueled by the COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF CHARLIE SHEEN as well specials from perennial heavy-hitter Jeff Dunham. Only Wednesday suffered distinct declines in HH and demos, as mainstay SOUTH PARK dropped 30% for younger women from last year. September's HH and demo delivery were up in the 20-30% range from last month.

Monday's highlights were the aforementioned ROAST OF CHARLIE SHEEN, which began at 10pm on the final Monday of the survey, along with the  ROAST PRE-SHOW at 9pm. Earlier in the month, 9-11pm  IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA continued to decline sharply, down 50% in HH Rtg from last year, with younger men are off by more than 1/3.

On Tuesday,  repeats of the just- renewed 1030pm offering WORKAHOLICS  held more than half of the lead-in provided by TOSH.0 at 10pm. On week 4, however, new episodes of both series premiered, doubling the previous week's HH delivery, and leading the night to strong growth over last year and modest increases over August.  TOSH.0 continues to be the strongest series on Comedy Central,   growing significantly at 9p, with that growth continuing through the one and half hour block.

Wednesday suffered from a lack of fresh episodes  of SOUTH PARK at 10pm.  However, compared to a similar glut of repeats in September 2010, the series overall dropped 13% in HH and 8% in RM18-49 from last year, in addition to the 30% drop in RW18-49. Wednesday's numbers were up modestly from last month, with SOUTH PARK replacing recently cancelled 1030pm vehicle JON BENJAMIN HAS A VAN.

The last two episodes of Season 2 of UGLY AMERICANS  Thursday at 1030pm declined in the 40-50% range from 10pm FUTURAMA. Both FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 were used at 1030 for the remainder of September.  The night was essentially flat with last year and last month

Repeats of the COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF CHARLIE SHEEN and four Stand-Up offerings from Jeff Dunham, including the premiere of   JEFF DUNHAM: CONTROLLED CHAOS led to significant HH and demo growth during the weekend.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH was the top-rated weekend Movie offering this month.

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