APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
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, now 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.
APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2011 vs. April 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
The big winner among Lifetime's primetime April scheduling was ARMY WIVES: the show's three April premieres collectively took the top three telecasts for the network. The show - now in its fifth season, has already been renewed for another run thanks to its impressive numbers. Overall, the highly female-skewing show helped make Sunday the highest rated night for the network.
The strength of ARMY WIVES (Lifetime's #1 show), created a nice lead-in for fellow military show COMING HOME. While COMING HOME can't quite boast the popularity ARMY WIVES enjoys, the new program garnered a respectable audience. Similarly to WIVES, HOME attracts a strong female audience in both the 28-49 and 25-54 age ranges.
Despite good numbers in key demos, HOME was beaten out by the much-anticipated dramatization of the courtship of Kate Middleton by Prince William. The Lifetime original movie - simply titled WILLIAM & KATE - amassed considerable numbers for its premiere and subsequent re-airings.
Along with the original movie, Lifetime also produced a documentary examining the relationship of the young couple, dubbed the ROYAL WEDDING OF A LIFETIME. While the documentary didn't haul in the same numbers as WILLIAM & KATE, the series fared well with women aged 18-49 and even better with women aged 25-54.
AMERICAN PICKERS, which aired on Tuesdays, is something of an anomaly for Lifetime. PICKERS was the only primetime program to attract a larger male audience for the otherwise female-skewing network. Thanks to the popularity of PICKERS, Tuesdays earned the highest yearly average change: male viewership among adults aged 18-49 and 25-54 both shot up by a whopping 167%.
Tuesdays also featured the recently renewed ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE. The unscripted maternity series drew in a fairly large female audience. Additionally, EVERY MINUTE'S numbers stayed level with the ratings posted last month, bolstering confidence in the show's staying power.
The remainder of the primetime programming was padded with movies along with network favorite REBA. The syndicated show continues to maintain a sizeable female audience.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Lifetime is aggressively expanding its drama series development plate bringing scripted strategy to the forefront. Lifetime intends on ordering additional pilots and scripted series programs.
Exec Nancy Dubuc is putting her stamp on Lifetime's scripted programming lineup, ordering two character-based detective dramas - EXIT 19 and AGAINST THE WALL the first scripted skein ordered by Dubuc since she took over the cabler last year, doubling Lifetime's series slate to four. This is in addition to Lifetime's commitment for six non-scripted shows in the works and is considering original programming for daytime as well.
Nancy Dubuc, Lifetime's new GM has every intention of bringing back the brand to number one in the ratings - lots of research and investing in originals. Women are the biggest consumer group in the country, and the network has built a brand reaching the average woman.