TLC Analysis - August 2011

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JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TLC, which does occasional topical specials like the recent  EXTREME COUPONING and WILLIAM & KATE: A ROYAL LOVE STORY.  The schedule tends toward stacking by theme or editorial sensibility, rather than by title alone. They do not strip. Weekends carry mostly one-off hours, off-network news-magazine reversions and, most recently a few specials.

JULY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)

HH

F18-49

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-25%

-35%

-33%

Tuesday 8-11pm

10%

18%

0%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-15%

-20%

-31%

Thursday 8-11pm

-40%

-25%

-47%

Friday 8-11pm

-7%

-5%

-8%

Saturday 8-11pm

-9%

-7%

-17%

Sunday 8-11pm

-15%

-13%

-8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-8%

-13%

-31%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

For the month of August, TLC dipped in both month-to-month and year-to-year ratings.  Despite these declines, the news wasn’t all bad.  MY COLLECTION OBSSESSION premiered on the 21st and enjoyed TLC’s top spot in the ratings.  COLLECTION garnered a sturdy female audience and also pulled in more male viewers than any other TLC program.  If the show can springboard from this promising start, TLC may have a hit on its hands.

Established hit TODDLERS & TIARAS was another bright spot for the network.  The controversial guilty pleasure had the biggest telecast of the month for its August 10th episode.

Primetime Fridays were the biggest night of the week thanks to tandem SAY YES TO THE DRESS: ATLANTA and FOUR WEDDINGS.  DRESS received identical ratings from women 18-49 and 25-54.  WEDDINGS was even more popular, strongly capping off bridal-themed Friday nights.

Overall, TLC’s programming never achieved impressive highs, but it also never suffered any terrible lows either.  Almost all the primetime shows managed to keep their head above water – producing average numbers.

KATE PLUS 8’s ratings were fairly disappointing considering the looming series finale in September.  The former mega-hit has certainly lost its luster with female viewers.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR was a hair better than the majority of August shows.  Tuesday nights featured three consecutive hours of the show and managed to attract a decent audience.

While there weren’t any rating outliers this month, reruns of UNDERCOVER BOSS arrived in last place.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

With the demise of the KATE PLUS 8 franchise fast approaching, TLC is on the brink of a new era.  As its programming slate currently stands, TLC doesn’t have an easy fix to fill the gaping hole left by KATE’S departure.  The network is on the lookout for new programming in the same vein as KATE and other classic TLC shows.  The network’s first stab at patching the hole has come in the form of SEXTUPLETS TAKE NEW YORK.  Coming this September, SEXTUPLETS is an obvious replacement but it remains to be seen if the new show can capture KATE’S impressive audience.

Character-driven family and ensemble casts are always in favor here. You'll notice many series are structured to work without a narrator, but this does not suggest lazy production. Good episodes of any of TLC's successful series are driven by very solid, logical, emotional storytelling.  Executives at this network will know what they want, and have a well above average ability to articulate this. Seek them out. Trust what they say. Watch their air carefully. Better still, follow them closely, right here!

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