TLC Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 29, 2009)


CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

AMERICAN CHOPPER (REALITY)
Originally produced for Discovery Channel, it shifted to TLC in 2006.  Father and sons bicker and build custom bikes.
Status: Currently airing.  Produced by Pilgrim Films & Television.

CAKE BOSS (REALITY)
Buddy Valastro and his family owned bakery in Hoboken, NJ tackle a wide variety of cake requests and emergencies.
Premiered in May, 2009.  Produced by High Noon Entertainment.

DR. G: MEDICAL EXAMINER (MEDICAL)
Off-Discovery Health, Dr. Jan Gararaglia, a leading forensic pathologist, uses cutting edge techniques to explain unexpected deaths.
Status: Season 4 completed in April, 2009.  Produced by Atlas Media.

JON & KATE + 8 (REALITY)
A borrow from Discovery Health.  Day to day challenges and the heartwarming rewards for a Pennsylvania family with sextuplets and twins.  Main characters have become nationally recognized celebrities in the entertainment and tabloid media.
Status: Season 5 currently on hiatus.  Produced by Figure 8 Films.

LA INK (REALITY)
Stories from behind the needle this month, just at the original series'(Tm) home, Los Angeles.
Status: Season 3 premiering July, 2009.  Produced by Original Media.

LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD (REALITY)
You know the deal a family of short and "normal-sized" people, livin'(Tm) life.
Status: Season 6 premieres in Fall, 2010.  Produced by Gay Rosenthal Productions

MOVING UP (PROPERTY)
Doug Wilson follows new homeowners as they move into one another's homes, design and renovate, and likely exchange some words.
Status: Season 3 premieres July 21, 2009.  Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions.

MY FIRST HOME (PROPERTY)
Viewers follow first-time home buyers as they journey from scouting to selection and settlement with drama, laughter and tears in between.
Status: Season 4 to premiere in the Fall.  Produced by Authentic Entertainment

SAY YES TO THE DRESS (LIFESTYLE)
Show follows the staff and inner workings of the world's premiere bridal salon in Brooklyn. The selection of the dress, the family dynamics the works.

TEN YEARS YOUNGER (LIFESTYLE)
Fresh out of daytime, this one takes a person, puts them in a glass cage and has people guess their age inevitably older than the person really is.  Then, experts do a clean-up and makeover to bring that number down.
Status: Season 4 completed airing in March, 2009.  Produced by Evolution Media.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR (LIFESTYLE)
Style makeovers, head-to-toe, wardrobe, skin, hair, makeup...personalized by a couple of experts.
Status: Season 7 premiered in May,2009.  Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions.


JUlLY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE


TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

JON & KATE PLUS 8, CAKE BOSS, 18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE COUPLE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

For nearly a year, TLC has endeavored to grab a schedule that had taken a decidedly feminine, almost 1990s daytime turn, and push it back toward a primetime sensibility that, while skewing female, tried to find men, too. It appears to be working.

But stay tuned. They have relied very, very heavily on Jon & Kate Plus Eight - with many original episodes, tons of repeats and occasional specials. This franchise, which had occupiee enormous tracts of schedule real estate and which seriously juiced the network's ratings, faces an uncertain future. It virtually disappeared from the schedule in July.

Whether Jon & Kate remains a major force, the schedule has showed some titles holding their own. 18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE COUPLE, CAKE BOSS and MY FIRST HOME will be shows to watch. Whether baking a cake, examining a disease or looking at where we live, weaving family narratives into programs seems to be one of the factors in helping a show pop at TLC. Ratings growth at TLC has been strongest Monday and Tuesday, and then generally declines as the week goes on.


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** August 3 - ULTIMATE CAKE OFF (New 8-parter)
** August 6 - POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY (New 10-parter)

JULY 2009 PRIMETIME RATING ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:   

July 2009 vs. July 2008 (% change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-6%

7%

15%

Tuesday 8-11pm

60%

67%

53%

Wednesday 8-11pm

29%

34%

24%

Thursday 8-11pm

49%

47%

44%

Friday 8-11pm

51%

3%

20%

Saturday 8-11pm

64%

5%

13%

Sunday 8-11pm

77%

77%

67%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

41%

32%

36%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Ouch! This is your network. This is your network without JOHN & KATE PLUS 8. The supernova series that in June made more than two dozen primetime appearances, in July made only two. The effect was, to say the least, dramatic. The Monday 8pm and 9pm stack of the franchise was gone, and the night fell, month-to-month, roughly HH 60% in all categories. Neither of the two episodes that did show up -- in the familiar 8pm Tuesday slot, early in the month -- made it onto July's top twenty telecasts list.

Tuesdays, where the Gosselins had established themselves at 8pm, were down HH 36%. Most important, Primetime through the week was off HH 20% compared to June.

So, where to look for good news? Actually, both the June comparisons and the yearly comps offer bits of good news and maybe even hope. The year-to-year numbers suggest that the JOHN & KATE PLUS 8 tide raised all boats. Compared to July 2008, the network is still up HH 41%, with both younger and older women within just a few percentage points of that average. This is more than cold comfort. A month horrible by recent standards is still a whopper on the bigger scale. The network has more viewers than last year, by a lot. TLC, in building this larger audience during JOHN & KATE PLUS 8's fantastic rise, may also have built itself a grace period. Will those new-ish viewers, drawn in by the JON & KATE PLUS 8 wave, stay with the network for a while? Will JOHN & KATE PLUS 8's eventual return, in whatever form, satisfy them? Will current shows grow out of the series' shadow? Will new titles keep all the viewers the network has collected since last year? Network execs will be watching this yearly comparison even more closely than usual in the coming months, regardless of the big franchise's future.

And... there was good month-to-month news. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights were all up over June, by solid double digits, on the strength of female-leaning titles such as I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT, LA INK (which mostly replaced the odd, heavily male, two hour AMERICAN CHOPPER stack on Thursdays)  and a handful of medical oddities hours.

Some big showings from the month's top twenty telecasts list: CAKE BOSS (5), LA INK (3), WHAT NOT TO WEAR (3), and SAY YES TO THE DRESS (2). Shows from July's top twenty list that were  about medical oddities and/or toddlers: 7! There are at least two good lessons here: First, the TLC audience likes little kids and unusual medical stories, sometimes in the same show. WORLD'S STRONGEST TODDLER was #8, for example. But in a more bizzy vein, those seven shows demonstrate the value of solid, workaday one-offs. As a group, they outnumbered the number one series in the top twenty list.

Finally, dumping AMERICAN CHOPPER in July, as JOHN & KATE PLUS 8 also disappeared for the first time, was smart, if perhaps overdue. LA INK is a much more likely than biker boys to attract loyal viewers, disorented by JOHN & KATE PLUS 8's absence.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

The World's Oldest Conjoined Twins (1x60"),  follows 57-yeard-old twins Ronnie and Donnie Gaylon.
From RDF Rights.

The World's Strongest Toddler (1x60"). Centers on three-year-old Liam Hoekstra, who has a genetic condition that increases his muscle strength.
From RDF Rights.

Britain's Tiniest Toddlers, a one-hour documentary on the lives of four primordial dwarves.
From RDF Rights.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

CAKE BOSS (Fall, 2009); THE LITTLEST COUPLE

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced

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