TBS Analysis - February 2011

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FEBRUARY 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, THE OFFICE has a reduced presence and has moved to Monday nights for now. FAMILY GUY anchors Tuesday nights leads into the new TBS original GLORY DAZE. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming bringing women and African-American viewers to the network. Thursday and Friday are mostly about movies, with FAMILY GUY or THE OFFICE leading out. Weekend prime is usually all movies, but can also house network specials.

FEBRUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-1%

1%

-5%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-6%

7%

-5%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-29%

-12%

-23%

Thursday 8-11pm

-25%

-31%

-33%

Friday 8-11pm

-18%

-22%

-24%

Saturday 8-11pm

1%

-9%

-6%

Sunday 8-11pm

--19%

-25%

-21%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-13%

-12%

-17%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

February was not a good month at TBS. In fact, primetime adult 18-49 ratings were at their lowest level since July of 2006. That was back before FAMILY GUY and TYLER PERRY transformed the network. Both of those franchises are alive and well at TBS, but they are not holding up the network like they once did.

Monday nights are back to FAMILY GUY straight through primetime, putting Mondays at the top of nearly every ranker --  top ratings (by wide margins) for households, men, women and adults 18-49 and the youngest audience age. Compared to last year, the program's total ratings are down just slightly among men, but off by a significant percentage on women (-19%). Bottom line, the program isn't at the top of its game, but it's at the top of TBS' line-up right now.

After months of declining ratings, and then nearly leaving the schedule entirely, THE OFFICE is back in full force on Tuesday nights. The program is not resonating with women, but is the network's second best draw for men. Compared to last year, both Monday and Tuesday nights lost women viewers, but the target for those nights is men, and those numbers grew. Unfortunately, not too much else was moving in the right direction.

Wednesdays is where TBS' trouble begins. The night took double-digit drops vs. both last year and last month. The trifecta of young female skewing programs - MEET THE BROWNS, HOUSE OF PAYNE and ARE WE THERE YET? - didn't hold up. Each of the programs lost a big chunk of their core viewers, even with new episodes sprinkled into the mix.

Thursday took the biggest hit. Lower draw movies going up against formidable competition was devastating to the night and to the bottom-line. NBA on TNT and Snookie on MTV gave TBS' Thursday nights a one-two punch it couldn't take, and ratings dropped by a third vs. both last year and last month. The network also continues to follow-up Thursday's female skewing movies with FAMILY GUY, giving the night an uneven audience flow.

The rest of the week's movies were better than Thursday, but not better than last year, with neither men nor women gaining on any night. There were some top-draw movies on the air (a "Tyler Perry Weekend" featuring The Family That Prays Together, Get Smart, Mama Mia, Bedtime Stories), but nothing was able to put the numbers on the positive side.

According to TBS press, CONAN has been delivering 1.1 million total viewers and 777,000 adults 18-49. This puts CONAN seven percent below TBS' Monday-Thursday primetime average.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

TBS primetime is heading downhill. Is there anything out there that can turn things around?

TBS' strategy is for Conan O'Brien to become the comedic voice of the network with the rest of the programming rallying around his latenight show. Unfortunately, comedy is one of the toughest genres to get right. Hitting the right tone, particularly in the one-hour format TBS is going for, is not a high percentage game. But that is the gameplan for now.  THE WEDDING BAND, IN SECURITY and HOUND DOG have all gone to pilot, and will play in the next round. Will TBS find its winning formula? So far it has had a lot more success with acquired programming.

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