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.
Historically a network rooted in scripted programming, Lifetime has struck a balance between traditional dramas and spunky reality shows. Lifetime parlayed the success of PROJECT RUNWAY into slate of unscripted programming to complement established hits such as ARMY WIVES and, more recently, THE CLIENT LIST.
APRIL 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Lifetime’s ratings among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 were flat from March but experienced an encouraging upswing compared to last year. The network was up 7% and 15% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively.
Lifetime’s biggest draw of the month overall was ARMY WIVES. The popular program continued with its seventh season this April and enjoyed a sizable ratings spike. From month-to-month, WIVES jumped 15% with women 18 – 49 and 19% with women 25 – 54. The show did well with both age demos, but held slightly more appeal for the older bracket.
Though the show had a good month, the fact that WIVES has been consistently losing popularity from year to year cannot be ignored. Compared to April 2012, the show was down 9% and 11% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively. While WIVES remains Lifetime’s most watched show, seven seasons is a long time to stretch audience attention without any decline. Sundays, which aired WIVES, was easily the network’s most popular night of the week.
THE CLIENT LIST also aired on Sundays and garnered impressive ratings among women 18 – 49. LIST also earned the most watched telecast in the demo with its last April episode. Despite high female viewership, the program was down compared to last month and last year. LIST was down by 15% and 8% in the 18 – 49 and 25 - 54 demos respectively compared to last month. Compared to April 2012 (in which the series premiered) the show was down 4% in both demographics.
DANCE MOMS closed out its third season in April (discounting two wrap-up episodes in May) and was the network’s fourth most watched program of the month. All four of its premiere episodes landed in the top ten among women 18 – 49 (one of which claiming the number two spot). Despite high viewership within the context of the month, MOMS was down from both a monthly and yearly standpoint.
PROJECT RUNWAY closed out its eleventh season in April and ended up Lifetime’s second most watched show of the month. RUNWAY’S two-part finale – split into two weeks – was the show’s most watched episodes by a wide margin. The strength of the finale helped the monthly numbers rise 6% and 11% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively.
The network’s collection of movies had a fair month but none of the films gave an explosive performance. The top three movies of the month among women 18 – 49 in order were Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, A Mother's Rage, and Sister's Revenge.
New show PREACHERS’ DAUGHTERS entered into its second month on air but failed to achieve ratings on par with Lifetime’s longer-running, more established show. Despite earning lower ratings for its premiere episodes compared to last month, PREACHERS’ ratings were actually up 14% among 18 – 49 women thanks to decreased reruns in April.
Finally, FLIPPING VEGAS – acquired from parent network A&E – failed to find an audience and was Lifetime’s least watched show of the month.
In light of the guilty verdict in the much publicized Jodi Arias trial, Lifetime has announced that it will film more courtroom scenes for its planned movie on the subject.