MAY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
NGC continues to mix anthologies such as NAT GEO PRESENTS and EXPLORER with series both new (ALASKA STATE TROOPERS) and time-honored (DOG WHISPERER). Stunt scheduling utilizes multiple runs of popular series or thematically similar specials slotted to maximize audience flow.
Monday and Tuesday are anthology driven, while Wednesday is crime-oriented. Thursday remains Science & Technology-themed; Dog-related series dominate Friday; Saturdays now start with Natural History at 8p and Sundays are anthology slots used for specials, themed stacks and one-offs.
JUNE 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2010 vs. June 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
NGC experienced its sixth consecutive month of year to year losses in June, with Wednesday and Thursday particularly hard hit. June was flat with last month, as the only significant schedule change from last month was the premiere of OPERATION GREAT WHITE on Sunday ay 10pm.
June featured a 2-night stunt, Monday 6/21 - Tuesday 6/22, entitled HTECH, which delivered HH and demo ratings consistent with the monthly averages.
A 3-hour block of the anthology series NAT GEO PRESENTS dominates Mondays and was down slightly from last month, while losing 20% of June 2009's HH Rtg for the night. An episode of EXPEDITION GREAT WHITE, relecast under the NAT GEO PRESENTS umbrella, was the top-rated Monday offering for the month.
Tuesday was up modestly over last month, but slightly down from last year.
Wednesday's losses against last year were mitigated slightly by significant growth in female demos over May, although men remain the dominant demo for NGC.
Science-themed Thursday's annual gains last month dissipated in June, with the night suffering the steepest losses vs. June 2009 of any night this month. RA18-49 was down nearly one third from May, as well.
Replacing Friday's usual domestic animal theme at 10p with Natural History and Hi Tech led to significant losses in female demos from last month and last year. Male demos, however, grew in the 10p hour as female demos declined, leaving the night flat overall for A18-49 and A25-54, compared to 2009
Saturday was down significantly against last year and last month for HH and older adults.A 3-hour block of MONSTER FISH, airing under the Super Saturday umbrella, was the top offering for the month on that night.
By contrast, Sunday was up modestly in demos compared to last month and essentially flat with June 2009. New 10pm series EXPEDITION GREAT WHITE grew slightly over its lead-in in demos, but does not yet exhibit the characteriasitics of a break-out hit.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
More theme nights and more series (or series-like) nights. There's more of a predictability to the schedule than in the past...less reliance on a lot of one-offs.
Here are some tips for those of you on the production side:
Producers should not narrow themselves to the Travel and Natural History dimension of National Geographic, the Magazine. NGC has a very limited editorial relationship with the Magazine, and no current appetite for straightforward Travel series or specials. Look well beyond...and get to know their very diverse schedule. Science drives it as much as anything. New insights to subjects that have been covered before are welcome. New research and discoveries, as well as new takes on traditional subject matter are welcome.
The key here for originals is a fully formed idea with all the sources (as credible as can be, because fact-checking is as thorough as it should be) and a story arc with new information along the way. Key subject areas remain: science, natural history, exploration, space, expeditions and history. But if you thought crime was going down under the new regime, you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of it.
Very little on the acquired side, but they will take a look on anything that fits into their remit.
While we've mentioned their need for series before, the recent ratings successes means more additional seasons for existing skeins (LOCKED UP, HOOKED) and less need for new series. Event specials are always in favor...not live or anything, but 1- or 2-hour Blue Chip docs. They still want "em. The key is that there must be enough "substance" throughout the program to justify its length. NGC prides itself on "time spent viewing," so substantive information and action throughout is key to their evaluation of new projects. Regardless, it's the ol' "we want new info on familiar topics" that rules the day. "Big science" is at the top of their "needs" list.
Blue-chip Natural History will begin to migrate to NG Wild, which replaced Fox Reality Channel in March, 2010. The ongoing success of DOG WHISPERER has led to similar appeal series about domestic animals - that sub-genre should remain viable for some time to come.