TBS Analysis - January 2011

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JANUARY 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.

JANUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-19%

-19%

-19%

Tuesday 8-11pm

24%

11%

2%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-7%

-3%

-7%

Thursday 8-11pm

8%

0%

6%

Friday 8-11pm

-20%

-34%

-21%

Saturday 8-11pm

-11%

-16%

-13%

Sunday 8-11pm

-3%

-19%

1%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-6%

-12%

-8%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JANUARY 2010: TBS faced a 10% ratings loss vs. last year and about a 15% ratings loss vs. last month. This hit TBS despite an armload of efforts to jumpstart the stagnant audience levels; there was CONAN, new episodes of both ARE WE THERE YET? and HOUSE OF PAYNE plus new program GLORY DAZE. It wasn't enough to boost TBS back up.

TBS remains reliant on FAMILY GUY and its young male audience. With 52 primetime telecasts this month, it accounts for over one-fourth of the schedule, and is the key player on male-skewing Mondays and Tuesdays. And so it didn't help TBS when FAMILY GUY's men 18-49 ratings dropped by seven percent vs. last year and eighteen percent vs. last month. And it was a blow when FAMILY GUY couldn't help GLORY DAZE, the new TBS original. Airing at 10PM on Tuesdays, GLORY DAZE was sandwiched between a FAMILY GUY lead-in and a CONAN lead-out. But the two stars of TBS couldn't prop up the program...about half of FAMILY GUY's adult 18-49 audience left the channel when GLORY DAZE came on, and its numbers dropped 37% vs. December. When GLORY DAZE' debut season came to an end at the end of January and FAMILY GUY filled its spot, ratings climbed back up, actually surpassing the lead-in. GLORY DAZE was at the bottom of the monthly rankings. Still no official word on a cancellation.

Better news came on Wednesdays, where new episodes of long-standing TBS series HOUSE OF PAYNE hit the air. The show was the top performer on women, and along with a new season of ARE WE THERE YET?, it helped TBS to a winning Wednesday night.

The rest of the week was mostly about movies. Featured titles this month were Meet The Fockers (coinciding with theatrical release of Little Fockers), Mama Mia and Get Smart, which all performed well. Friday nights fared the worst, where TBS schedulers followed female skewing DINNER AND A MOVIE with male-skewing THE OFFICE and encores (read make-goods) of GLORY DAZE.

TBS is giving its all, but audiences are not yet rallying to the cause.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

TBS' strategy is for Conan O'Brien to be 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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