(Updated as of August 25, 2008)
Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49
TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:
Movies remain the dominant primetime fare, and represent 95% of the line-up this month. Biggest theatrical titles usually air on Sunday nights. The remaining 5% of the schedule is for original dramas, and this month brings us 30 DAYS, scheduled on Tuesday nights, one of FX's preferred premiere nights. Mini-sodes of RESCUE ME started up last month as an effort to keep up viewer interest in the show during its extended hiatus.
JUNE - JULY:
FX's docu-series 30 DAYS ended its run on July 8th, two weeks into the month. RESCUE ME mini-sodes continued on Monday nights at 10PM, and the rest of the schedule was movies.
** July 8 @ 10PM: 30 DAYS
AUGUST AND BEYOND:
** September 2: THE SHIELD
** September 3: SONS OF ANARCHY
** September 18: IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
** October 9: TESTEES
**DAMAGES will probably not be back until 2009.
YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:
The FX audience was flat to slightly up this July vs. last. Households were even while men and women 18-49 ratings were up by +4%. These are decent numbers for FX, when we consider the line-up consisted almost entirely of acquired theatrical titles, without high profile, high-rated series to promote them.
FX retained bottom-line audience by focusing on a couple of nights. Thursdays and Sundays led the way with forty to fifty percent gains on 18-49 ratings. Multiple runs of movies Hellboy and Batman Begins led the way. So while Wednesday took big losses among men without RESCUE ME (-25%) and Tuesday took a hit among women without DAMAGES (-24%), the network was able to program fresh, young skewing movies to compensate for the losses.
JULY 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
The FX core audience grew quite a bit this month, as the men 18-49 share grew by +31% and ratings improved by +23%. Women 18-49 inched up +7% in share and +4% in ratings. Each night had double-digit growth for either men or women.
Mondays were up nicely this month vs. last. Household and 18-49 ratings were up +20% or more, while shares were up about 30%. Top movie titles this month were SWAT and Walk the Line, which have both appeared on the air before.
Tuesday night had the only original series on FX for the month, with RESCUE ME's six minute mini-sodes at 10PM and two episodes of 30 DAYS at 10:06 PM. The night was up +10% for men and down -16% for women. 30 DAYS featured programs with a better male draw this month (guns and Indians) versus last month (same sex partners, animal rights) and men 18-49 ratings went up +19%, household ratings went up +9% while women 18-49 ratings fell -24%. Overall, the program consistently performed below its RESUCE ME and movie lead-ins.
Wednesday night gained 40% more women vs. last month with another double play of 13 Going on 30 popping the numbers.
Thursdays saw phenomenal growth on FX vs. June. Men 18-49 shares doubled, while women 18-49 shares went up +50%, resulting in the best demo shares of the week. Hellboy and Batman Begins led the charge, as the highest rated telecasts of the month. Interestingly, Batman Begins also ran on Thursday night in June, with much lower numbers all around. It's all about timing.
The weekend performance all had a similar story - up for men, flat or down for women. Friday took a big jump with male viewing (+33% share), with Spiderman as the lead superhero. Female share improved just +8%. Saturdays were up slightly for men (+13%) and down for women (-30%), as male skewing titles (SWAT, The Rundown and Austin Powers) prevailed. Sunday night, the top rated night of the week, grew the male audience by one-third while dropping about 10% of the female audience. Like Thursday night, Hellboy and Batman Begins were the top performers.
FX pulled in a lot more viewers this month, with much of the same programming and movies that has run before. The network's deep stable of fantasy / superhero movies is serving it well as viewers seeking a summer escape are learning they can find it most nights on FX.
ADDITIONAL RATINGS ANALYSIS:
The September 2nd premiere of the final season of THE SHIELD drew in 2.1 million viewers, down a bit from the April 2007 premiere of season #6 with 2.2 million viewers.
The September 3rd debut of SONS OF ANARCHY at 10PM drew in 2.5 million total viewers with 1.5 million adult 18-49 viewers.
FX is very much a part of the 2008 theatrical pre-buy frenzy, snapping up aggressive packages from various studios. Chuck Saftler, FX EVP said in Variety it is part of their strategy to go after "every quadrant" of the 18-49 demo.
In June it was announced FX will pay approximately $11 million for the exclusive cable network-window rights to air the Sony film You Don't Mess With the Zohan starring Adam Sandler. FX's window opens in 2010 following the exclusive pay-TV run on Starz.
On March 25 a $115 million+ Universal deal was announced. The deal comprises most of the titles on Universal's 2008 slate; about 15 titles, many of which are prebuys. Titles include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Leatherheads. Other titles not yet released in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers. Titles already in theatres include Jarhead, Definitely Maybe, Doomsday (Rogue Pictures), Eastern Promises and In Bruges (Focus Features). The FX window kicks in about 28-30 months after the theatrical release, with the first of the bunch available summer 2010.
The Sony Columbia Pictures package also includes prebuys to five unreleased titles, which are Vantage Point starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, The Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan, Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, 21 starring Kevin Spacey and The International starring Clive Owen. According to Variety, the deal also includes these three other released films: Walk Hard, Untraceable and We Own the Night. FX is scheduled to air the featured films within about 28 months of their debut in theaters and pay-per-view channels.
Marvel has struck a deal with FX for the TV rights to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and three others in another pre-buy arrangement.
FX paid $55 million for the exclusive network-window rights to five theatrical movies from 20th Century Fox: The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Death Sentence and Hitman. The movies become available to FX in fourth quarter 2009, after their pay TV runs on HBO. The movies are all consistent with FX's male-oriented programming strategy.
Other deals completed recently include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.
DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for two more 13-episode seasons.
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
13 episodes in development set to premiere September 18. 39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.
NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
22 episodes in production, 14 more have been ordered, for a total of 100 episodes. Its last season will be in 2011.
RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
A 22 episode fifth season has been ordered.
DIRT has not been picked up for the second half of its second season. (Just 7 of the 13 ordered episodes were produced, due to problems encountered from the Writers' Strike. Those 7 episodes performed well below the first season.)
THE SHIELD's last season will premiere on Tuesday, September 2.
ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING: