TBS Analysis - May 2010

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MAY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night is all FAMILY GUY and Tuesday is all 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.

MAY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-4%

-3%

8%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-33%

-20%

-19%

Wednesday 8-11pm

2%

6%

-3%

Thursday 8-11pm

18%

21%

-11%

Friday 8-11pm

16%

0%

18%

Saturday 8-11pm

-11%

-24%

-18%

Sunday 8-11pm

-6%

5%

-8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-3%

-5%

-6%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MAY 2010: May is historically one of TBS' weakest months, and 2010 was no exception. May sweeps and TNT's wall-to-wall NBA coverage gave TBS a one-two punch again this year, and 18-49 ratings fell 15% vs. April and 5% vs. last year.

The biggest hit was right at the heart of TBS' schedule - FAMILY GUY fell 22% among core men 18-49 vs. last month. FAMILY GUY has been driving TBS for a couple of years, and is used strategically throughout the week for lead-in / lead-out ratings bumps. New animated comedies NEIGHBORS FROM HELL, GOOD AND EVEL and THE BLACK FAMILY are relying on FAMILY GUY to help steer them to successful launches. A big FAMILY GUY rebound is important. Compared to last year the program is down just 7% among men 18-49; perhaps viewers will be back when NBA finals are finished.

On Tuesdays THE OFFICE has not stopped falling yet, as men 18-49 ratings dropped 19% vs. last year and 2% vs. last month. THE OFFICE is struggling to hold up Tuesday nights by itself; it is hovering just above TBS' men 18-49 average rating, and is the third best-rated night of the week on that demo (behind Mondays and Sundays). There are no announcements of any companions coming soon.

Tyler Perry Wednesdays continued this month with HOUSE OF PAYNE showing nice increases with its new eps, and MEET THE BROWNS dropping ratings with its repeats. Net/net the night was down 12% on core women 18-49 ratings vs. last month, and down just 3% vs. last year. The successful launch of ARE WE THERE YET? on June 2 will go a long way to refreshing the night.

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:

TBS hit a wall this year; the programming slate stopped growing, and viewers started drifting away. FAMILY GUY became the crux of the schedule, even though its content is at odds with the TBS middle-America family brand of humor. This month's drop in FAMILY GUY audience should be sending alarms through the TBS hallways.

TBS is aware of the heavy FAMILY GUY diet of its audience. In an attempt to give them a better-balanced TBS serving, 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.  GOOD AND EVEL and THE BLACK FAMILY are in development. TBS heads are careful to point out that the humor might be slightly raunchy, but they are looking for funny first, raunchy second.

Four one-hour scripted comedies have been announced, 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 TBS would rather talk about latenight, starting most conversations with Conan and ending them with George Lopez. TBS promised Conan whatever he asked for in order to get him to the network. In return, TBS is hoping for a lot of attention, help with its branding and invaluable cross-promotional opportunities that will drive viewers to its primetime programming. Most of all, TBS gets to talk about something new, and seriously ramp up its "cool" factor.

With so much to talk about, it is easy to overlook the recent acquisition of THE BIG BANG THEORY; it was just mentioned as an aside at TBS' upfront presentation. But that record-shattering deal might just make the biggest strides towards rounding out the TBS line-up and growing the audience.

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