TBS Performance/Schedule Analysis - November 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of December 17, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54.

NOVEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS

FAMILY GUY, THE OFFICE, HOUSE OF PAYNE, THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TBS runs original and off-net sitcoms in back-to back one or two hour blocks from Monday to halfway through Thursday. Friday is usually a one-hour block of off net sitcoms followed by a movie. Weekend prime is all movies.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2008:

Last month was all about baseball, but that's all over for the season, and TBS is back in the comedy game, and back to its regular schedule, with a few minor changes. FRIENDS now has a two-hour block on Thursday before the movie comes on at 10, instead of 9P. There was some non-movie fare on Saturday nights this month - THE COMEDY FEST, FUNNIEST MOVIES, BILL ENGVALL and FAMILY GUY.

PREMIERES:

None this November.

DECEMBER AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:
** December 3: TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE new season premieres
** January 6, 2009 (late night - 11PM): 10 ITEMS OR LESS
** January 25, 2009: SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS simulcast live with TNT
** January 7, 2009 @ 10PM: MEET THE BROWNS debuts with 10 eps.
** March 2009: BILL ENGVALL & MY BOYS return with new seasons

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

November means the end of baseball and that means TBS is back to its regular programming. Bottom-line, the network was down slightly this year vs. last, with more nights taking losses than gains. For the month, household audiences were down -8%, men 18-49 and 25-54 were basically flat, and women were off by -10%. Median age is exactly the same.

The Monday through Thursday line-up is still delivering healthy numbers, but despite some tweaks, it is down a bit vs. last year. THE FAMILY GUY remains the program with the most air-time, with 52 telecasts this year vs. 36 last. But it is showing some wear, and is down -7% on 18-49 demos vs. last year.  HOUSE OF PAYNE now airs in all three hours on Wednesdays, while last year FAMILY GUY lead off the night. HOP has lost -15% of core women 18-49 audience. THE OFFICE shows the most drop-off of the returning sitcoms with a -11% drop among men 18-49 and -29% drop among women 18-49. FRIENDS is the only sitcom to show any improvement vs. last year, as men 18-49 grew 8% (women were even).

The COMEDY FESTIVAL: ELLEN'S REALLY BIG SHOW aired both this November and last. This year the (big) show was telecast on a Saturday while last year had a Monday night showing.  This year's telecast did 25% better among men 18-49 and 50% better among women 18-49. Women 25-54 showed the best improvement, as that audience grew 80% vs. last year. On the negative side, it should be noted that despite year-to-year improvements, it still lost audience across the board from its THE SANTA CLAUSE lead-in.

Movies remain the dominant force Fridays through Sunday, and they reflect marked improvement vs. last year, based on strong titles and the aggressive acquisitions TBS has invested in.

And so, with just minor changes on the schedule, we see that TBS' audience has leveled off after enjoying a year of record-breaking growth.


NOVEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

To recap October 2008 on TBS: 18 MLB playoff games; Red Sox / Rays take it to game 7; records shattered.

How do you follow that? Well of course the night-to-night November vs. October comparisons are dismal for TBS, but the program-to-program numbers are more positive. In fact, every returning program, including movie skeins, shows marked improvement (well, HOUSE OF PAYNE, was even). Last month MLB was good for the total ratings, but bad for regular programming, as every regular program showed declines vs. September. Happily, they have all recovered from the turmoil (although, as discussed above, they are still below last year's levels). Oh, and median age is back down to normal levels, after climbing into the (gasp) mid-forties last month.

The top-rated program on TBS remains FAMILY GUY, and it dominates the sitcom roster, with over 40% of the total sitcom telecasts. Even with all that airtime, it grabs the highest household, men 18-49 and people 18-49 ratings for the net. In the top 20 HH rankings, it places an impressive sixteen times, including the number one through number five slots.

HOUSE OF PAYNE was still in repeats in November, and it is at virtually the same levels as October. Despite a drop-off in September and October, the program is still the top performer among women. New episodes started up on December 3rd, and it will be joined by new sitcom MEET THE BROWNS in January, and we can expect the numbers to pop accordingly.

Which brings us to THE OFFICE, the second best-performing sitcom on men, women and adults 18-49 this month. THE OFFICE still gets its regular two airings per week, and still draws in a loyal and audience with a slight male skew. It took the hardest hits last month against the 18-49 demo, but recovered nicely, with the largest gains among all sitcoms.

FRIENDS is the longest-running TBS sitcom, and it seems to have found a good home in its Thursday night time slot, just where it was on NBC, back in the day (when it was must-see TV instead of must-see-Jay.) In fact, the highest rated half-hour is consistently 8:30. FRIENDS bounced back from a scary October, and is proving to be a strong movie lead-in.

MY NAME IS EARL is hanging in there on Monday nights, following a two-hour block of FAMILY GUY. The show's male skew helps it stand out. Compared to October, it rose just slightly on demo (+5%) and lost some households (-9%).

While the sitcoms are the mainstay of the schedule and TBS' identity, it was really the movies that helped pump up the numbers this month, particularly among women. Monster-In-Law, Shrek, The Santa Clause and The Wizard of Oz were the top performers of the month among women 18-49, and they helped bring in the bottom line.

TBS mixed things up a bit on the weekends this month, with ELLEN'S REALLY BIG COMEDY FEST, CHEECH AND CHONG COMEDY FESTIVAL, (both previously shown on weekdays), and sitcoms (THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW, FAMILY GUY) all airing on Saturday or Sunday. CHEECH AND CHONG numbers were well ahead of ELLEN's, but all of these offerings performed well. Perhaps we will see more than just movies on the weekends in the future? Stay tuned!

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

COMEDY FESTIVALS: TBS is strengthening its position as the new home for comedy festivals while HBO is turning away. TBS unveiled a new five-day Chicago summer festival, set to launch in 2009. And it just aired the fourth annual Comedy Festival in Las Vegas in November. "We're ready to dive into the festival arena full force," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "These events are a perfect opportunity for TBS to showcase some of the best talents in the comedy industry and to expand the reach of our brand in exciting new ways. We will use the festivals as a mike to talk to comedy fans in a 360-degree way all year and offer cross-platform marketing opportunities," he said. (Hollywood Reporter)

MOVIES: TNT and sister network TBS are joining the crowds on signing up for theatrical prebuys, obtaining the cable-TV rights to four high-visibility movies set for release by New Line and Picturehouse later this year: The Women, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again and the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy Four Christmases.

TBS signed a Lionsgate deal valued between $8 and $10 million, which also included pre-buys. Titles include Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (begins 2010) and Larry the Cable Guy's Witless Protection (begins 2010), allowing TBS to lock in those franchises. Other titles include Lord of War, with Nicolas Cage, and In the Mix, starring Usher, which will become available this spring.

At the end of February '08, TBS and TNT completed a big movie purchase from WB. As is the recent trend, many of the titles were bought on a pre-buy basis. Among the titles likely to appear on TBS are Get Smart, with Steve Carell, and Jim Carrey's Yes Man. TBS will be able to start running Ant Bully in June. The rest of the movies will trickle in to the two networks throughout 2010 and 2011.

A $12 million Lionsgate movie package was sold to TBS and sister network TNT, and includes titles such as Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's Little Girls, Bernie Mac's Pride and Bill Engvall's Delta Force.

Rush Hour 3 from New Line begins airing in 2010, Fracture begins in 2009.

LATEST PROGRAM RENEWALS:

TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE: 26 extra episodes ordered. (in addition to the original 100 episode order)

MY BOYS and BILL ENGVALL have been renewed for their 3rd seasons, and are due to be back on the air in first quarter 2009.


LATEST PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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