TLC Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TLC, which does occasional topical specials like the recent  MICHAEL JACKSON'S KIDS and an updated TIGER WOODS Special.  The schedule tends toward stacking by theme or editorial sensibility, rather than by title alone. They do not strip. Only one night is reliably themed: Turbo Thursdays are very male - AMERICAN CHOPPER and BBQ PITMASTERS dominate there, at the moment.  LA INK was moved to Wednesday nights for it's newest season. Weekends carry mostly one-off hours, off-network newsmagazine reversions and, most recently a few specials.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2010 vs.July 2009 (% Change)

HH

F18-49

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-5%

-15%

-8%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-2%

-16%

-5%

Wednesday 8-11pm

5%

-10%

-4%

Thursday 8-11pm

-13%

-31%

-30%

Friday 8-11pm

-6%

18%

-7%

Saturday 8-11pm

10%

14%

24%

Sunday 8-11pm

-12%

-12%

-15%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-4%

-10%

-9%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

TLC has several strong series that continue to perform very well and has used them strategically to anchor key nights of the week.  The problem is that there isn't a meteoric breakout hit that's posting huge numbers to match some of the big ratings from last summer (delivered courtesy of the Gosselin family).  July is another month with declines from last year, with most nights declining year-to-year.

Saturday nights have been the brightest spot in the schedule compared to 2009 with modest double-digit growth.  Using stacks of DATELINE or CAKE BOSS, helped the Saturday growth.  Freshman offering DC CUPCAKES had a strong showing the last two weeks of the month and has already been renewed for another season.

Friday night was boosted by SAY YES TO THE DRESS which delivered growth in the key women 18-49 demo (but dropped in the w25-54) from last year.

Monday nights are down, due mostly to below average performance of CAKE BOSS (Buddy and the Baker Boys are overdue for a big delivery). Thursday nights showed the largest declines from last year which is interesting because the lineup has been a consistently strong mix of the POLICE WOMEN OF... franchise and MALL COPS: MALL OF AMERICA.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

If this network has had a very, very wild ride in the last 12 months, it's only stronger for it. They rode the JON & KATE PLUS 8 bucking bronco for all it was worth - and as measured by ratings alone, it was worth a lot. While the schedule was an unpredictable mess for a while (it sometimes felt like Jon & Kate & Whatever Else We Have Lying Around), it turns out some solid series were developing or coming into themselves at the same time.  18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD and CAKE BOSS.  Character-driven family and ensemble casts are 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. An executive with highly respected scheduling skills and development instincts joined upper management here recently. 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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