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.
MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This March, Lifetime took a step forward from a monthly standpoint but fell back a few notches compared to last year. This ratings divergence is due to the return of ARMY WIVES: the show failed to perform as strongly as it had last March but did manage to increase Lifetime’s viewership compared to last month.
WIVES – now in its sixth season – scored well with women in both main age demographics, with the 25-54 range just barely edging out the younger crowd. WIVES was also notable for attracting an uncommonly large male audience for a female-skewing network. Thanks to the solid – if not record breaking – return of WIVES, Sundays earned Lifetime’s highest ratings of the week.
Sundays were also bolstered by COMING HOME, which benefited from having WIVES as its lead in. While HOME’S numbers paled in comparison to the highly popular WIVES, the reality program more than held its own. The show’s loyal fan base helped HOME remained virtually flat compared to last year.
DANCE MOMS enjoyed a very strong month, building on the momentum of its season premiere. While not in the same league as WIVES, MOMS continues to be a much watched (and much discussed) program, especially among women aged 18-49. The strength of the show helped Tuesdays (which generally featured three solid hours of MOMS) garner the second most viewers of the week.
PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS also enjoyed a strong run this past March, closing out its first season with the show’s highest numbers to date. Sister show PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS: AFTER THE RUNWAY also performed well, parlaying another spinoff from the original series.
The remaining March schedule was less impressive – neither WIFE SWAP nor 24 HOUR CATWALK fared well. While WIFE SWAP is an acquisition (with lower expectations for success), 24 HOUR CATWALK fell far short of the similarly themed RUNWAY series.