Discovery Analysis



Is Discovery over the gold rush?  April was the first month in a long time in which the primetime schedule did not have a heavy reliance on gold-themed series.  Returning to the primetime lineup this month was MYTHBUSTERS on Wednesdays, and DEADLIEST CATCH on Tuesday and Friday nights.  Monday nights remains AMERICAN CHOPPER nights.  Sundays in April featured a consistent lineup of of scientific-based favorites FROZEN PLANET, MYTHBUSTERS, and UNCHAINED REACTION.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% 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

Has the gold rush ended for Discovery?  April's primetime lineup was the first in months to not feature a gold-themed lineup.  Instead, DEADLIEST CATCH returned to the schedule (airing Tuesdays and Fridays).  The show came back strong, taking 3 spots among the top 10 telecasts (for overall viewers) for the month.  In addition, the show saw solid growth compared to year-ago numbers - up in almost all key demographics.

Also hitting Discovery's top ten list in overall viewers, and among the key male demographics, were blue-chip BBC co-pro FROZEN PLANET, and returning series MYTHBUSTERS.  Despite hitting the top ten, MYTHBUSTERS is down 20% in viewers compared to a year ago.  Still, there's no denying that there is a strong fan base - in fact, MYTHBUSTERS was one of the top ratings gainers across the cable landscape when comparing Live ratings to Live + SD.

AMERICAN CHOPPER continues to perform extremely well for the network.  Anchoring Discovery's Monday night schedule, the show is up 93% in HH viewers compared to last year, and new episodes in April saw numbers that were more than 50% better than average.  A special, WORLD'S SCARIEST PLANE LANDINGS, on 4/23, scored above average, and made the top 10 list in Live Ratings, but not in Live+SD - perhaps some titles aren't as conducive to appointment-viewing as others.

For another month, Tuesday nights took the biggest year-to-year hit out of all of the nights of the week, falling 19% in overall viewers.  DEADLIEST CATCH scores big when it's a new episode; it doesn't perform nearly as well when in reruns.  However, the night is, by far, the strongest of the week for Discovery.  Big competition from History on Tuesdays nights could be the culprit for the falling numbers.

Wednesday remains all about guns, with SONS OF GUNS and AMERICAN GUNS anchoring the night.  Numbers were down slightly overall, but up among all the key demographics.  The night continues to be the youngest-skewing of the week.  SONS OF GUNS is building on its audience, and the show is up 41% compared to last year.

Thursdays in April featured a mix of programming - from the return of MYTHBUSTERS to stacked episodes of AUCTION KINGS.  Top performing of the month, and the only show to hit above average, was THE RESURRECTION TOMB MYSTERY, a special, on 4/12.

Fridays and Saturdays were down overall this month, and the night was one of the weakest of the week this month for Discovery, with a mix of reruns.

Sundays were flat overall, but saw nice increases among the key younger demographics.  One of the strongest nights of the week, Sundays featured FROZEN PLANET with numbers scoring well above-average, and the return of MYTHBUSTERS.  UNCHAINED REACTION, Discovery's competition series leading out of MYTHBUSTERS didn't fair as well, with numbers below average.