TLC Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of July 7, 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.

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' 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' 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.

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

JON & KATE PLUS 8, CAKE BOSS, LITTLE COUPLE, HALF TON MOM, 18 KIDS AND COUNTING, SAY YES TO THE DRESS, WORLD'S OLDEST CONJOINED TWINS, JOINED FOR LIFE, LITLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD, 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE, WHAT NOT TO WEAR, I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT, TABLE FOR 12.

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 occupies enormous tracts of schedule real estate and has seriously juiced the network's ratings, faces an uncertain future. More on that next month, after some dust has settled and more data arrives.


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** June 19 - HAPPILY EVER FASTER
** July 9 - L.A. INK (Season 3)
** July 22 - TODDLERS & TIARAS (Season 2)

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME RATING ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:   

May 2009 vs. May 2008 (% change)       
HH        A18-49     A25-54   
Monday 8-11pm             -14%        22%         22%   
Tuesday 8-11pm             42%         57%        33% 
Wednesday 8-11pm       -10%        -11%       -15%   
Thursday 8-11pm              8%           3%         14%   
Friday 8-11pm                  -5%        -19%       -15%   
Saturday 8-11pm              48%         9%          22%   
Sunday 8-11pm                 64%      57%          65%   
MTWTFSS 8-11pm            18%    -13%         19%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

May marks ten months since an abrupt change of administration at TLC. As the one-year anniversary approaches, year-to-year numbers will begin to mean more, and so that's where we'll focus our TLC attention this month. In our next installment, numbers then available will help illuminate the wake of Jon & Kate events, and will make month-to-month analysis especially interesting.

Year-to-year TLC's most important improvements were on Monday and Tuesday, and Saturday and Sunday nights. These bracket very troubling trends on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

We start with Monday and Tuesday, filled to the brim with TLC's signature big-family shows and other human-interest fare. The only title to appear every Monday was Jon & Kate, with anywhere from one to three-plus hours. What ended up feeling like the spaces in-between were filled with Little People Big World, Table For 12, and one very successful episode of Cake Boss, tossed in near the end of a Jon & Kate stack that went beyond the end of primetime. Tuesdays included the loving and likable Duggars, who in some episodes had 17 kids, and in others had 18! Branching out beyond heavily populated families, Tuesdays included episodes of The Lottery Changed My Life, Little People Big World and Little Couple.  Both Monday and Tuesday were family friendly and they scored significant year-to-year growth in both men and women: On Mondays younger and older women were up 25% and 28%, respectively. On Tuesdays they gained 68% and 41%, respectively. On Mondays younger men were up 11% and older ones 5%. On Tuesdays the swing was bigger. Even with this relatively gentle programming, younger men were up 38% and older ones 27%.  All these year-to-year numbers surely warm the new management's hearts.

But... year-to-year, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday offered less to cheer about. On Wednesdays, an unpredictable collection of TLC's better and lesser-known family, human interest and medical oddities titles fell by from 10% to 16% in every single column. Thursday - that night that still appears to have landed in the middle of TLC's softer schedule from some other, male, network - drew new men. They were up 14% younger /24% older. But women seeped away; they were down 12% younger/8% older. Friday, a fashion night for three weeks (What Not To Wear, Say Yes To The Dress) and a Jon & Kate stack one week, was down in every column, with women down most: younger sliding 22% and older dropping 15%.

Back on the other side of this mid-week trough, Saturdays and Sundays were buckets where it seemed almost anything might land. Nevertheless, the nights were way up from a year ago - HH 48% and HH 64%, respectively, and positive in every column. Generally, men grew at greater rates than women. On Saturdays more 48 Hours showed up than anything else, except for one week when it was wall-to-wall Jon & Kate. Sundays ranged from medical oddities to sex science to a stack of Half Ton Teen, Half Ton Mom and Half Ton Dad. One week offered an all-48 Hours stack and another - you guessed it, an all-Jon & Kate stack. Despite these two nights' hodgepodge appearances on the grid, they provided big boosts for TLC, compensating for that worrying mid-week slump.

For readers feeling short-changed about month-to-months, which we'll turn to again next month, May's trends, by night, tracked nearly identically to the year-to years. Percentages and specifics within each night varied, of course, but Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday were all up compared to April. Wednesday and Friday were down and Thursday was dead-flat with women and slightly up among men.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced

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