Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas. They look for reality competition shows, game shows, scripted dramas geared to 25-54 demo.
PROJECT RUNWAY was a key asset for Lifetime. A network known for movies since the beginning, has come to expect high quality entertainment scripted shows. Unscripted shows however, have always been a challenge for them because it's not part of their brand expectation. RUNWAY, a top competition show, enabled them to branch out and acquire new reality shows and use RUNWAY as a launching pad for new programs.
FEBRUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
February was a slow month for Lifetime with yearly ratings at a standstill and monthly ratings in decline. The network’s top programs were all films (both acquired and original).
The highest rated film for the month was THE BODYGUARD starring the late Whitney Houston. In a shrewd move, the network began airing the 20-year-old film within a week of the pop star’s death. The rest of the films that aired throughout the month included SECRETS OF EDEN, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS, A LOT LIKE LOVE, and MONTANA SKY. This mixture of Lifetime Originals and blockbuster films were popular among women aged 25-54. Unfortunately, the films’ ratings far exceeded the network’s series for the month.
Among the list of underperforming programs, bona fide hit DANCE MOMS managed to find the most viewers. The show, now in its second season, scored high with women in the 18-49 bracket. Much like similar TLC show TODDLERS & TIARAS, MOMS has found success thanks to a mixture of compelling characters and controversy. Thanks to MOMS, primetime Tuesdays were Lifetime's most popular night of the week behind Saturdays (which featured movies).
AMERICA’S SUPERNANNY – which was also featured on Tuesday nights – failed to attract nearly as many viewers as MOMS. SUPERNANNY actually attracted a fair amount of female viewers (in both the 18-49 and 25-54 ranges) but a complete lack of male viewers dragged the overall ratings down.
Spinoffs PROJECT RUNWAY: ALL STARS and AFTER THE RUNWAY were roughly in the middle of the pack. ALL STARS is now well into its first season, and has not mustered the same level of success as the original series.
New program 24 HOUR CATWALK was intended to build off the popularity of the Runway franchise but has received unsatisfactory ratings. In fact, the new show was even beaten out by rerun presentations of acquired show WIFE SWAP.