TBS Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night is animation night with FAMILY GUY and NEIGHBORS FROM HELL, and Tuesday is all about THE OFFICE. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming bringing women and African-American viewers to the network. Thursday and Friday start out with more FAMILY GUY leading into a movie (or vice versa). Weekend prime is usually all movies.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-8%

14%

-21%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-34%

-36%

-20%

Wednesday 8-11pm

0%

4%

9%

Thursday 8-11pm

-2%

13%

-18%

Friday 8-11pm

14%

19%

19%

Saturday 8-11pm

-1%

30%

-1%

Sunday 8-11pm

19%

57%

3%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-3%

3%

-4%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2010: TBS is one of the few cable nets that does not tend to peak in the summer. The colder months are kinder to TBS, with November through March typically producing the better numbers. Despite putting three new series with new episodes on the air this year, July 2010 was no exception to the rule. TBS' target adult 18-49 Monday through Sunday ratings didn't move much, dropping 2% vs. both last year and last month.

The best thing to happen to the schedule this month was Shrek, as the second and third installments of that movie rose to the top of the ratings lists, and helped push weekend numbers up by double digit percentages.

Wednesdays are another bright spot on the schedule. ARE WE THERE YET? premiered in June to solid numbers, and quickly received a 90-episode pick-up in the typical TBS Wednesday night programming model. ARE WE THERE YET? aired just two times this month, finishing up its initial 10-episode order. Despite dropping 17% of its core women 18-49 audience from last month, it still placed near the top of the programming list among that demo. MEET THE BROWNS was close behind in the ratings. That program grew audience vs. last year, but dropped one-fourth of June's ratings, primarily as a function of the mix of encore vs. premiere telecasts.

FAMILY GUY still dominates TBS, with the best men 18-49 demos on the line-up, and the driving force on whatever night it appears. However, the program is waning, down 18% from last year and five percent from last month. TBS recognized its over-dependence on the program, and is trying to support FAMILY GUY and build on its strengths.

First up was the original half-hour comedy NEIGHBORS FROM HELL, which brings more uncouth animated comedy to the line-up. The program launched to a slow start, dropping audience from FAMILY GUY last month, TBS doubled up the NEIGHBORS runs in mid-July, airing them at 10 and 10:30. The 10PM run dropped significant audience from the FAMILY GUY lead-in, and the 10:30 run dropped even more audience, which is never a good sign of a future.

On Tuesday nights THE OFFICE has been floundering as it has been left to carry the full 8-11PM block on its own. However, lin June FAMILY GUY moved in at 8PM, and the numbers for THE OFFICE showed 7% improvement over last month (although there is a long way to go to a full recovery, is still down over 20% vs. last year).

Movies were a high point for men 18-49 this month. Besides FAMILY GUY the only other telecasts to hit the top of the men 18-49 ratings list were Shrek, Dumb and Dumber and Hitch. Women were more well-rounded, with MEET THE BROWNS and ARE WE THERE YET? topping the charts along with Shrek, Hitch and FAMILY GUY.

MY BOYS was back for a fourth season, launching on July 25th, in its fourth time period, Sunday nights at 10 & 10:30. Despite a solid lead-in from HITCH and a "best of season three' marathon on Saturday the 24th, the show found itself at the bottom of the ratings chart in a three-way tie for last place among adults 18-49 (along with NEIGHBORS FROM HELL and a surprise airing of TNT's HAWTHORNE).

So despite the addition of three new programs to the line-up this month (NEIGHBORS FROM HELL, ARE WE THERE YET? and MY BOYS), TBS is still treading water, not able to reverse its summer curse.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

TBS has hit a ratings plateau. In the last couple of years TBS was a star as it took its ratings up and brought its median age down, primarily on the strength of FAMILY GUY.  As that program wanes, TBS has come up with reinforcements, hoping something will repeat the audience magic of FAMILY GUY.

The first offensive is new original animated comedies.  NEIGHBORS FROM HELL was the first to roll out, but it did not have much luck in the ratings department.  GOOD AND EVEL and THE BLACK FAMILY are in development.

Next, four one-hour scripted comedies are in development, designed to help relieve FAMILY GUY from lead-in / lead-out duty to movies. GLORY DAZE has received a greenlight, and THE WEDDING BAND, THE RABBIT FACTORY and THE CATCH are in development.

But the best bet is off-network acquisitions. THE BIG BANG THEORY and THE CLEVELAND SHOW will probably help TBS take the biggest strides towards rounding out the line-up, growing the audience and taking some of the ratings load off of FAMILY GUY's shoulders.

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