JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
HGTV runs all original programming, almost all in half-hour formats. The half-hour programs are usually scheduled back to back, creating one-hour blocks with a natural break in between. The programming is safe and lulling, as is the schedule, which subtly leads viewers through the night and the week with little disruption.
Mondays have become an HGTV showcase night, with new signature programming, while on Fridays, HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL runs all the way from 8 to 11.
Tuesday through Friday features the "First Time Homeowners" block from 8 to 9PM, with MY FIRST PLACE AND PROPERTY VIRGINS. The 9 to 10 slot mixes it up with PROPERTY VIRGINS on Tuesdays, INCOME PROPERTY and PROPERTY BROTHERS on Wednesdays and SELLING NEW YORK on Thursdays. The 10 to 11 slot remains dedicated to HOUSE HUNTERS or HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL all week, with occasional exceptions for specials.
Saturday is home-design focused, and Sunday features specials and Mike Holmes' programming, thereby drawing more men to Sunday nights.
JULY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2011 vs July 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
JULY 2011: HGTV was steady this month; not one night or one demo of the bottom-line primetime average rating moved ore than .02 from last year or last month. Weekday programming showed double digit growth on core women 25-54 vs. last year, while the weekend declined by 20%, flattening out any gains the network was able to make.
So what was working and what wasn't? With nearly half the primetime inventory between them, the first place to look is HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. The programs are the consistent ratings leaders, starting and/or ending nearly every night of the week. HOUSE HUNTERS delivers the second-best women 25-54 ratings out of all the HGTV programs, and held steady at +2% vs. last year. Earlier this year HGTV began stacking HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL on Fridays, helping Friday nights, but not necessarily the program. HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL had 78 telecasts in July, and it appears to be too much of a good thing, as women 25-54 ratings dropped by 24%. Losses were still there vs. last month (-9%) when the Friday night block was also running. Even the new spin-of of the spin-off, HOUSE HUNTERS ON VACATION took a 6% drop vs. last month.
The next place to look is Monday nights, where network schedulers are getting creative. At the beginning of the summer HGTV made a move to crown Mondays a showcase night featuring new signature programs such as HGTV'd and MY YARD GOES DISNEY. Each of those programs did okay in June but wound up near the bottom of the program rankers in July. But the star of this month is HGTV's Super Bowl equivalent, HGTV DESIGN STAR. It began airing on Mondays at 9, and was used to lead into previews of upcoming HGTV fare (HOME BY NOVOGRATZ, SELLING LA, ROOM CRASHERS). Last year DESIGN STAR aired on Sunday nights, with much better ratings. Establishing Mondays as a new beachhead is a sound long-term strategy, but in the short-term, the best-rated show (DESIGN STAR) and one of the best-rated nights (Sunday) are being sacrificed.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights each showed healthy signs of growth. PROPERTY BROTHERS lost 11% of its audience from last month, but it ranks as the best-rated program among women 25-54. SELLING NEW YORK grew 31% vs. last year, and second-tier programs PROPERTY VIRGINS and MY FIRST PLACE grew by double digits.
Weekends were the source of declines. Saturday's Design Time featured low-rated encores of Monday night's programming at 8, pulling the underperforming night down to new depths. The rest of the line-up didn't fare very well either, with the exception of HOME BY NOVOGRATZ, which made its debut with some stand-out ratings. The future looks bright for that show. On Sundays, HOLMES INSPECTION is still strong, particularly among men, but the loss of DESIGN STAR pulled down the night by 21%.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
It's a busy time at HGTV. The net is attempting to ease its reliance on the HOUSE HUNTERS franchise with second tier programs PROPERTY VIRGINS and MY FIRST PLACE and by establishing a new signature night on Mondays. In the meantime, the net is navigating a course that carefully avoids the recession while steering towards renovation, redesign and re-creation. But the biggest and most successful programming element is when an on-air personality clicks with viewers, as with Mike Holmes. The Novogratz's look like they have potential, and REAL HOUSEWIFE Dina is up next.