FEBRUARY 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.
FEBRUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2011 vs. February 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This February, Lifetime unveiled two brand new shows: SERIOUSLY FUNNY KIDS and ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE. The former is helmed by Heidi Klum and features the supermodel interviewing entertaining kids. EVERY MINUTE is a reality show that revolves around the drama of giving birth.
Lifetime execs breathed a collective sigh of relief when both projects managed strong ratings. In fact, the new shows were Lifetime's top two programs and second only to the various films aired throughout February.
Movies comprise an impressive chunk of Lifetime's programming schedule and the ratings reveal their popularity with viewers: the top 9 telecasts were all films.
In a month full of ratings gains for the network, the largest boosts occurred on movie-dominated Monday nights. This February, 133% more men tuned in on Mondays. This makes sense considering last year featured the highly female-skewing PROJECT RUNWAY and GREY'S ANATOMY. The Monday movie - AMANDA KNOX - was aided by its controversial subject matter. The Lifetime original, which depicts the trial of the titular convicted murder, caused a stir in the press when Knox's mother denounced it. The hype for KNOX propelled the drama to become Lifetime's strongest telecast.
Another Lifetime original drama -TAKEN FROM ME: THE TIFFANY RUBIN STORY - took second place. The made for TV movie portrays the true story of a mother whose son is abducted.
Although Lifetime cut down on REBA reruns to gain way for new programs, the show still proved popular with viewers. Primetime Fridays were completely devoted to the show while Wednesdays and Thursdays each aired an episode.
Wednesdays pulled in a sizable male audience thanks to programming centering around addiction such as INTERVENTION and specials on Marijuana and Meth. These shows helped Wednesdays spike 33% among men and MARIJUANA: A CHRONIC HISTORY even brought in equal numbers of male and female viewers.
Weekends - which were entirely composed of movies - performed very well for the network. And although Sundays technically dropped 6% among women, the second Sunday movie THE HOLIDAY was the top ranked program for February. Other featured films included NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S, and DEADLY HONEYMOON.
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.