(Updated as of August 2, 2009)
CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:
KROD MANDOON AND THE FLAMING SWORD OF FIRE (COMEDY)
A new workplace comedy set in the Middle Ages.
Status: Premiere Date: April 9th, 2009. Six episode commitment.
MICHAEL AND MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES (COMEDY)
Best friends Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter are hosts of their own fictitious comedy sketch show.
Status: Premiere Date: July 15th at 10:30pm. Seven episode committment.
TOSH 2.0 (COMEDY)
A weekly series with host/comedian Daniel Tosh. The mission of TOSH 2.0 is to change the way people think about the internet, with a closer look at blogs, vlogs, tweets and pokes.
Status: Premiere Date: June 4th at 10pm. Ten episode commitment, airing weekly.
The scheduling pattern that generally holds over time: Monday through Friday it's The Daily Show at 8pm, The Colbert Report at 8:30 PM. For the rest of the evening on weekdays things change a bit, as standard non-live production orders typically involve fewer episodes over a given year than Stewart and Colbert deliver, live. The nine o'clock hour, which in May was all animated fare (FUTURAMA, SOUTH PARK) Monday through Thursday, in June switched away to other fare, to disastrous effect. More on that, below.
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 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.
**July 2009 - MICHAEL AND MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES
**August 9 - COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF JOAN RIVERS
**Fall 2009 - NICK SWARDSON
**September 14 - ATOM TV: New episodes
MAY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
June 2009 vs June 2008
Yearly % change* H'hold M18-49 F18-49
Monday 8-11pm 14% 15% -3%
Tuesday 8-11pm 15% 4% 20%
Wednesday 8-11pm -17% -20% -3%
Thursday 8-11pm -32% -44% -24%
Friday 8-11pm -24% -31% -15%
Saturday 8-11pm -32% -36% -19%
Sunday 8-11pm -18% 3% -26%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm -15% -18% -12%
*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Three things stand out this month.
First, in the week of June 8th, Stephen Colbert took his show to Iraq and seemed to earn the respect and effusive praise of anyone within earshot and eyesight. The troops went crazy. General Odierno shaved his head, military style. Obama sent a video. Critics fawned. The word genius got kicked around. And yet, while THE COLBERT REPORT also held or even built slightly on its formidable DAILY SHOW lead, not one episode made it into June's top 20 telecasts. Five SOUTHPARK episodes did. Ouch.
The discomfort of seeing such a marvelous effort harrumphed at in a brutal marketplace may have been offset by the very poor numbers in April and May for the much anticipated and presumably not-cheap US-UK copro called KROD MANDROON AND THE FLAMING SWORD OF FIRE. If anyone on this side of the Atlantic liked it, Comedy Central couldn't find them. It didn't show up in the June schedule, and if it appears again in future months, odds are it'll be at peculiar hours.
The second thing that jumps off the June Neilsen pages: Beyond the weekday 8pm and 8:30pm stalwarts (THE DAILY SHOW, THE COLBERT REPORT) comedy has only a small handful of reliable series titles. FUTURAMA and SOUTHPARK comprised virtually all of 9pm and 10pm primetime on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By Wednesday, audiences seem less excited. Compared to May, Monday and Tuesday were up HH 16% and HH 25%, respectively. Wednesday was down HH 3%, and Thursday through Sunday were all negative, month-to-month. RENO 911, another long-in-the-tooth dependable performer, got a rest in June, but for a 10:30pm slot on Wednesdays. Thursday through Sunday, only two series titles appear -- TOSH O., and IMPORTANT THINGS WITH DIMITRI MARTIN, and while they seldom lost significant numbers of viewers, they weren't finding many new ones, either.
Finally, on June headlines, the post-election year hangover lingers. The fantastic numbers Comedy Central delivered with THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT's "coverage" of the Obama-McCain showdown skew the year-to-year comparisons toward the stomach-churning variety. They're down HH 15% overall (they were down HH 11% in May), and they're negative on every night except Monday. The only numbers trending significantly upward are those measuring viewers' median age. Monday through Sunday, viewers are 8% older than a year ago. In that same period, Spike's audience -- while contracting at almost twice the rate at Comedy Central -- got 18% younger. Watch for that crucial year-to-year trend to only worsen through the end of the year. Good as the network's numbers were at this time last year, John McCain wouldn't pick Sarah Palin until August 29th!
Zack and Miri Make A Porno (Comedy Central has inked a multipicture deal with the Weinstein Co. for the first-window broadcast premiere rights to a trio of films, including first-window rights to "Extreme Movie," "The Hammer" and second-window rights to "Soul Men" and "Who's Your Caddy?")
Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay. (Comedy paid $4 million for the exclusive network window, which will be available in October 2010. The agreement also includes runs of Be Kind Rewind which was purchased on the back end of the network window for less than $1 million)
Superhero Movie ($2.7 million for the cable rights in September 2010. The four year deal also includes pre-buys of two other unreleased titles, Fanboys (Dec 2010) and The Promotion (March 2011). Terms of the agreement allow The Weinstein Company to sell runs of the movies to another cable network during a specific window, in addition to selling the films to PayTV outlets prior to becoming available to Comedy Central)
LEWIS BLACK: THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (season #2)
RENO 911! (season #6, 10 additional episodes ordered)
IMPORTANT THINGS WITH DEMETRI MARTIN (second pick-up)
THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM (season #3, 10 episodes, premiering 1st quarter 2010)