Spike TV Analysis - June 2011

Publish date:


* Bold denotes programming change


THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER and other UFC-related series and specials pop up a lot in different days/time slots, although they no longer occupy the 1/3 of the Prime grid, at least, that they did earlier in 2010. They still figure prominently among the top-rated vehicles each month. Sports entertainment series IMPACT WRESTLING (formerly TNA IMPACT) which generally holds one of the top spots in HH and key demo delivery each month has returned to Thursday nights from a several-month-long sojourn on Monday nights to take on USA's WWE Wrestling head-to-head. Other factual series usually deal with physical competition or risk.

Spike is, however, retooling its original-series strategy, having recently introduced reality game show REPO GAMES, sitcom BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE and reality series SCRAPPERS and AUCTION HUNTERS.  Spike has also recently made a serious commitment to off-network product. Starting October 2011, Spike TV will broadcast two back-to-back episodes of the sitcom THE KING OF QUEENS in prime time twice a week.

In addition they have recently invested in Theatrical acquisitions with movie franchises Rambo and the Star Wars saga.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2011 vs. June 2010  (% Change)



Monday 8-11pm



Tuesday 8-11pm



Wednesday 8-11pm



Thursday 8-11pm



Friday 8-11pm



Saturday 8-11pm



Sunday 8-11pm



MTWTFSS 8-11pm



Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

In June the key RM18-49 demo dropped for the seventeenth month in a row, when compared to the previous year.   A mixed bag of Movies, specials and series episodes on Friday provided the only dramatic demo growth over last year's female-appeal CSI  on that night. The network was essentially flat with last month's delivery.

Spike's Median Age grew 4% over last year - quite a recovery from May's 17% increase over the same period last year. AUCTION HUNTER-dominated Tuesday night's average viewer was 37% older in 2011, compared to a lineup dominated by  DEADLIEST WARRIOR  in 2010.

June saw a return to "off-the-clock" scheduling, with programs rarely starting on the hour or half hour, and the first Prime offering each evening beginning some time in the 7pm hour. The only consistent exception to this was Thursday 9pm IMPACT WRESTLING, Spike's #1 series.

Monday's top performance was a repeat of the film WALKING TALL. JAIL generally grows from 8-9pm, and the night was up over 20% in the demo from last month.  The night was down slightly from last year.

On Tuesday, AUCTION HUNTERS returned to a three hour block, as it was in April. HH and demos were off modestly from last month, and demo delivery could not compare with last year's DEADLIEST WARRIOR-driven Tuesday, however.

A night of UFC-related programming was the highlight on Wednesday, as JAIL settled in 8-11pm for the last two weeks of the survey. While JAIL  generally maintains a steady demo delivery though the night, M18-49 plummeted compared to last year's  MMA-centric lineup.

Thursday's combination of  JAIL and  IMPACT WRESTLING was up modestly from last year's HH delivery, and essentially flat with MAY. IMPACT's HH and demo ratings  sharply increase its  JAIL lead-in at 9pm.

Year-to-year demo delivery in June grew sharply on Fridays, as a nightly block of AUCTION HUNTERS   was augmented by a special run of  two STAR WARS prequels. Numbers were flat with May.

A run of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER was the top Weekend offering, along with another run of WALKING TALL.


Spike is making a bigger play for its target 18-49 male audience with an increased output of original scripted comedies, focusing on shows with sports themes. January 2010's premiere of BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE is a good example.

Spike sees itself as an entertainment-driven factual Network aimed solidly at younger men. Much of their Prime line-up is dedicated to physical competition, whether from its Sports division (UFC) or Original Entertainment (DEADLIEST WARRIOR.)

Movies also occupy a significant amount of the schedule, but the concentration is on Theatricals, rather than original M.O.W.'s. In its quest to differentiate itself from its competition, Spike looks to take on traditional genres, but with a twist. Specials about historical warriors have appeared on History, Discovery and National Geographic (all of which Spike counts among their competitors,) but in Spike's DEADLIEST WARRIORS, two different eras and cultures are pitted against each other in a tournament format that puts each unique style to the test. Producers should keep this imperative in mind when developing projects aimed at this Network.

Comedic elements, where germane to the project, are also favored by the Network. One sub-genre that Spike is currently staying away from is Disaster-related fare.