TBS Analysis - January 2010

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JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TBS made a slight shift in its Monday and Tuesday male skewing sitcoms. Instead of one or two hour blocks of different sitcoms, Monday night is now all FAMILY GUY and Tuesday is all THE OFFICE. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming bringing women to the network. Thursday, Friday and Saturday start out with more FAMILY GUY leading into a movie (or vice versa). Sunday prime is usually all movies.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

No specific dates announced.

JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON January 2010 vs. January 2009 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

0%

-10%

12%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-36%

-30%

-16%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-2%

-11%

-16%

Thursday 8-11pm

-13%

4%

-16%

Friday 8-11pm

-9%

1%

-21%

Saturday 8-11pm

-7%

-15%

-11%

Sunday 8-11pm

-11%

-21%

-8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-11%

-13%

-11%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

TBS seems to have recovered from its May - September slump, but it is still not back up to the peak levels it was hitting a year ago. Compared to last January, ratings are down every night but Monday. Compared to last month, only Thursday took a significant hit, but there was no growth on any night of the week.

FAMILY GUY continues as the animated engine that could, pulling TBS through the ratings peaks and valleys. Monday, the night it runs for three straight hours, remains the top-rated night of the week. Averaging 12 eps per week, FAMILY GUY holds its top rank among TBS' core men 18-49 viewers, despite an 18% loss in those ratings vs. last year. Part of this loss stems from the new strategy of spreading FAMILY GUY across the week to support movies on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. But that was the strategy in December as well, when FAMILY GUY's men 18-49 ratings were 7% higher.  The signs of wear-out are there, time to bring in the reinforcements!!

On Tuesdays, losses for THE OFFICE appear to have leveled off after it was left without its 8-9PM FAMILY GUY lead-in. It retains its place as the second highest rated program among men. Still, the drop-off was hard to take - core men 18-49 ratings for THE OFFICE are 22% lower than last year, and Tuesday nights pulled in 30% lower ratings this January vs. last January.

On Wednesdays MEET THE BROWNS was airing new episodes this month and it is the best performing program among both households and women. ARE WE THERE YET is slated to join the line-up in the spring, and should help the night grow further.

SEINFELD made four appearances this month, but each telecast ranked near the bottom of the line-up.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights feature a movie and an hour-long block of FAMILY GUY, which was consistently better rated than the movie. Before FAMILY GUY moved into Thursday nights, FRIENDS was the movie lead-in, providing a female skewing lead-in instead of a male-skewing lead-out. FAMILY GUY is now the only companion to movies (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), leaving those female skewing movies without a good match. This is particularly apparent on Fridays, when the DINNER AND A MOVIE skein, featuring titles such as Runaway Bride and Miss Congeniality, seems oddly paired with FAMILY GUY.

Movies are not the top ratings-grabbers on the net. Only a New Year's Eve showing of The Longest Yard and a Sunday night Talladega Nights ranked in the top 20 adult 18-49 telecasts.

The theme is fairly consistent throughout the week on TBS. It is time for new material!

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW: The current schedule is showing its lack of depth and some audience burn out. Just in time, TBS has a robust list of new projects coming its way. Two hour-long pilots and three animated shows are in the works. It looks like TBS is going animated while sister net Cartoon Network tries out live action. Animated NEIGHBORS FROM HELL from the creators of FAMILY GUY and ARE WE THERE YET? from the creators of HOUSE OF PAYNE are safe bets for ratings success.

Turner execs Michael Wright and Steve Koonin have reportedly crafted TBS' strategy for 2010. TBS will employ the TNT-tested formula of adding more of what works, or in their words, "emulating the acquired product that is already working." Specifically, they are looking at tried and true formats from tried and true producers. 

According to TBS' original programming chief Michael Wright,. "Because we don't have to aggregate the same size audience as (the broadcast networks) do, we have greater freedom to pursue different forms and grow the audience," he says. TBS is looking to offer "feel-good" comedy for the late-20s, date-night movie audience. The "everyman" or "blue-collar" brand of humor seems to resonate best with TBS audiences. 

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