TNT Analysis - November 2010

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NOVEMBER 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Sunday through Wednesday is TNT's primary focus, where the network has attempted to run original series throughout the year. BONES and LAW & ORDER have become a big part of the schedule, trying to hold up those Monday through Wednesday originals.  NBA runs on Thursdays, when it's the season, otherwise it's an off-net crime drama and/or a movie. Theatricals dominate Friday through Sunday.

NOVEMBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-12%

-14%

-16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-29%

-38%

-36%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-2%

2%

-2%

Thursday 8-11pm

10%

17%

14%

Friday 8-11pm

3%

-11%

-8%

Saturday 8-11pm

-13%

-18%

-23%

Sunday 8-11pm

-4%

-27%

-25%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-7%

-14%

-14%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NOVEMBER 2010: The good news is that TNT's November's ratings were better than October's.  Monday through Sunday primetime household and adult ratings showed five percent improvements over last month. The bad news is that October did not set the bar very high, and November was actually TNT's second lowest rated month of 2010. Compared to last November, TNT's demo ratings are off by 14%, with most of that loss coming from a drop in male viewers.

What drove the men away? NBA on Thursdays is the strongest draw for men, and it grew 11% vs. last year. NBA is not the cause here. It was a combination of female-skewing movies (particularly The Bucket List and Diaryof a Mad Black Woman), and more men 25-54 fall-off from weekday standards BONES (-24%), THE CLOSER (-28%) and to a lesser degree, LAW & ORDER (-7%).

Unfortunately, these programs lost women as well, with year-over-year losses ranging from nine to sixteen percent. TNT's Monday through Wednesday "bridge fare" - the weekday programming that runs between original dramas - is in need of a pick-me up.

THE CLOSER has been running on Monday nights throughout the year, but viewers are not staying with the program in repeats Bad news for TNT as THE CLOSER will enter its final season next year, with over 100 episodes under its belt. Perhaps the hype around THE CLOSER's close will boost ratings.

The audience drop-off from BONES is a particularly hard hit to take, as the program ran 17 times over the course of November, accounting for 20% of the primetime line-up. While household ratings dropped by just 6% vs. last year, adult audiences dropped by about 20%, indicating a shift in viewers to the older segments -- usually a bad sign for future growth.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

NBA is driving TNT this fall. Movies and off-net procedurals are on board, but the competitive movie after-market is taking its toll, and the procedurals are weighing down the network with aging audiences and declining viewership. 

A limited number of new episodes of LEVERAGE, MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE and THE CLOSER helped move the needle in the right direction for December, and the new year will start with a new season of SOUTHLAND and a new series, FRANKLIN & BASH. But this all sounds like more of the same. Will it be enough to get TNT out of its slump? Stay tuned!

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