TBS Analysis - April 2011

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APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night starts the week with a strong FAMILY GUY block. After months of fading ratings. Tuesdays are once again where THE OFFICE can be found, but without a FAMILY GUY lead-in this time around. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming and ARE WE THERE YET? bringing women and African-American viewers to the network. Thursday and Friday are mostly about movies, with FAMILY GUY occasionally leading in or out. Weekend prime is also all about movies, but can also house network specials.

APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON April 2011 vs. April 2010 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-9%

4%

-17%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-14%

-8%

-24%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-27%

-17%

-29%

Thursday 8-11pm

-18%

11%

-29%

Friday 8-11pm

-33%

-24%

-47%

Saturday 8-11pm

-30%

-21%

-29%

Sunday 8-11pm

-18%

-11%

-20%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-21%

-9%

-28%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

APRIL 2011: With NCAA basketball gone, there was nothing left to bolster TBS' sagging ratings this month. Audiences have been on a steady decline all year, and this April saw household and women ratings falling to new lows.

The network's front-runner, FAMILY GUY, is keeping its head above water. Core men 18-49 ratings are down just 3% vs. last year and last month. Mondays, when FAMILY GUY runs straight through from eight to eleven, were the only night to show improvement, however slight. (+4% among men, -17% among women). FAMILY GUY is the best thing TBS has going for it right now. It has been tested on nearly every night of the week (even female skewing Wednesdays) in order to maximize its power. But no matter how you slice it, FAMILY GUY needs a supporting player. TBS tried to develop its own original animated comedies last year, with poor results. THE CLEVELAND SHOW was acquired, and is scheduled to hit the air in 2013. Hopefully FAMILY GUY can hold on until then.

THE OFFICE on Tuesdays could also use some help. The program continues to produce impressive male comps, but continues to lose its core. Men 18-49 ratings for both THE OFFICE and Tuesday nights are down by double digits compared to year ago and month ago levels.

Wednesdays picked up steam this month with ARE WE THERE YET? and HOUSE OF PAYNE pushing up women 18-49 ratings vs. last month's low performance (+22%). However, numbers for the night are still off by nearly one-third vs. last year. MEET THE BROWNS is down 37% vs. last year, and HOUSE OF PAYNE is down by 28%. More Tyler Perry programming is in development, but it looks like it is losing its appeal.

Thursday's combo of male-skewing movies and FAMILY GUY helped to produce the biggest gains vs. last year (+11% on men 18-49). The nightly men 18-49 average was on par with the network average, which shows what strong companions can do for each other. Alternately, on Friday nights TBS typically pairs male-skewing FAMILY GUY with female-skewing movies such as The Wedding Planner. Fridays took the steepest declines vs. last year.

Actually, the entire weekend took strong ratings hits this month. Yes Man was the featured feature, and it was not the ratings blockbuster the network needed to turn things around this April.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

TBS primetime is in need of some help. Unfortunately, comedy is one of the toughest genres to get right, and TBS is struggling. Both full-hour and half-hour programs were announced during this year's upfront presentations, along with a game show. The goal is for Conan O'Brien to become the comedic voice of the network, with his smart comedy and young audiences rallying around the net. Will TBS have more success this year than last? They are certainly doing all they can, and the acquired programming (CLEVELAND SHOW and THE BIG BANG THEORY) might be the jump-start the network needs to get going.

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