TBS Analysis - June 2010

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JUNE 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.

JUNE 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

7%

3%

12%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-41%

-40%

-29%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-1%

0%

0%

Thursday 8-11pm

15%

26%

-11%

Friday 8-11pm

4%

-2%

21%

Saturday 8-11pm

-11%

-7%

-19%

Sunday 8-11pm

-8%

-10%

0%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-7%

-7%

-4%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

June was a weak month for TBS in the ratings department. While making some recoveries from May, ratings are not back up to last year's levels, or the levels from earlier in the year.  Year to date, June was TBS' worst month for household and women 18-49 ratings and the second worst for men 18-49.  

This June marked the debut of TBS' first new program launch in a year. ARE WE THERE YET? and NEIGHBORS FROM HELL made their starts on TBS, but they were not strong enough to turn the tide on TBS' receding audience.

Both programs performed well, but not as well as the programs they were brought in to support. NEIGHBORS FROM HELL was seen as a companion to FAMILY GUY...a raunchy animated comedy to help ease the load from FAMILY GUY. NEIGHBORS FROM HELL delivered ratings better than the primetime average, but it underdelivered the Monday night average, and consistently lost audience from its lead-in FAMILY GUY.  Monday nights performed better than both last year and last month, but it was on the strength of high-rated FAMILY GUY episodes. In mid-July TBS announced they cut the NEIGHBORS FROM HELL run short by two weeks, airing back-to-back episodes in the 10PM hour for two weeks, and bumping up the finale to Monday, July 26 at 10:30PM. About a week before this decision, TBS announced it had bought the rights to THE CLEVELAND SHOW, the hit spin-off of FAMILY GUY currently running on FOX. A much safer companion, to be sure.

ARE WE THERE YET? debuted on June 2nd from 9-10P, with an 8-9P lead-in of HOUSE OF PAYNE repeats and a 10-11P lead-out of new episodes of MEET THE BROWNS.   According to the TBS press machine, "The premiere of ARE WE THERE YET?, delivered 1.6 million A18-49 viewers along with nearly 3.2 million total viewers. Then at 930PM, TBS aired a second new episode which did slightly better with 1.7 million A18-49 viewers and 3.3 million total viewers, ranking it as ad-supported cable's top sitcom telecast for the year to date." While ARE WE THERE YET? was the net's top performer on adults 18-49 on premiere night, TBS' stated target for Wednesday nights is women 18-49. In that demo, MEET THE BROWNS was stronger. (and if we want to get technical, the monthly program average for MEET THE BROWNS is stronger for both adults and women 18-49).

"We've built a Wednesday night lineup that delivers a young, diverse audience," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming, for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "ARE WE THERE YET? is a promising addition to a strong schedule that already features the hits Tyler Perry's HOUSE OF PAYNE and MEET THE BROWNS." No arguments from us there. Wednesday is the most robust night of programming on TBS.

We made the wrong call on Tuesdays. Apparently THE OFFICE did not hit bottom in the spring. It lost another 7% of core men 18-49 ratings from last month. When NEIGHBORS FROM HELL bumped one ep. of FAMILY GUY off Monday nights, it moved to Tuesday at 8PM, but it was too little, too late to help THE OFFICE.

Blades of Glory and Rush Hour 3 were the big movie premieres of the month, helping to guide the men 18-49 numbers in the right direction.

Saving the best news for last, June is Comedy Festival month at TBS, the network that is "Very Funny." This year's three primetime specials, led by Cedric, performed an impressive 24% better (HH, A18-49) than last year's three primetime specials.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Movies tried to navigate the May storm, with Thursday through Sunday ratings basically holding vs. last year and taking double digit falls vs. last month. Top rated titles were both Tyler Perry movies. Does that T in TBS stand for Tyler yet??

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

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 the program maxed out at 10 episodes per week, ratings stopped growing and the audience stopped getting younger. It took a while, but TBS has come up with reinforcements, hoping something will repeat the audience magic of FAMILY GUY.

First, three animated comedies are in the works, which will act as companions to FAMILY GUY and give viewers a taste of something slightly different. NEIGHBORS FROM HELL was the first to roll out this June, with lackluster critical acclaim and lackluster ratings, showing us once again how hard it is to produce good comedy.  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 most sure-fire solution is acquisitions. THE BIG BANG THEORY and THE CLEVELAND SHOW will probably help TBS take the biggest strides towards rounding out the line-up and growing the audience.

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