TNT Performance/Schedule Analysis - December 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of January 23, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

LIBRARIAN (special), LEVERAGE, LAW & ORDER,  NBA

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TNT usually serves up stacks of female-skewing crime dramas Monday through Wednesday, NBA on Thursdays, when it's the season, and blockbuster, mostly-male-oriented theatricals Friday to Sunday. Premiere night of original dramas, when they are running, is usually relegated to Mondays , sometimes Tuesdays (as in this month). LAW & ORDER is the glue that fills in the holes.

In the future, TNT has announced a big move toward originals in primetime. They plan to have three nights (Monday - Wednesday) of original programming, including dramas and non-scripted fare, throughout the year by 2010.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER:

RAISING THE BAR was gone and LEVERAGE made its bow. A couple of specials, CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON and LIBRARIAN made their way onto the schedule, but otherwise we had the usual TNT mix of crime procedurals (LAW & ORDER, BONES, COLD CASE), movies and NBA.

DECEMBER:
PREMIERES:
** LEVERAGE: premiered Sunday 12/7, time period premiere Tuesday 12/9 at 10PM

FINALES:
** None

JANUARY & BEYOND:
PREMIERES:

** January 26, 2009 @ 9PM: THE CLOSER     
** January 26 2009 @ 10PM: TRUST ME (fka TRUTH IN ADVERTISING)
** March 2009: SAVING GRACE

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:
TNT did not make many strides since last December.  While the month had some bright spots, there was not one night with across the board increases. Bottom-line, TNT's ratings were off by -10% on households, -7% on women, -8% on men 18-49 and -4% on men 25-54.

LAW & ORDER showed some encouraging signs of life vs. last year, with slight gains among core women viewers (+8%). Women were also drawn to NBA in bigger numbers than last year, and now comprise one-third of Thursday nights' audience.

But the biggest gains over last year were among the men on Tuesday nights. The new series LEVERAGE is one of the few TNT original dramas with a male skew. Compared to last year, when COLD CASE dominated Tuesdays, male audiences are up by +70%.  Women are down by about ten percent.

Another interesting comparison to Tuesday nights from December '07: last year we saw the finale of SAVING GRACE on a Tuesday, this year we get LEVERAGE, which launched to higher numbers than GRACE across the board.

But most of the year-to-year comparisons show slippage: core male viewing to NBA, overall movie audiences and COLD CASE audiences were all down vs. 2007. The occasional bright spots were not enough to put the network in the positive numbers.


DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
TNT had modest bottom-line changes vs. last month; basically even on household ratings, slightly up on women and slightly down on men.

Monday nights had the best improvements of the month, with younger male ratings increasing by one-third, and men 25-54 ratings increasing by +27%. Women were up, but not as much (+11% 18-49, +4% women 25-54). This has to be a bit disappointing for TNT - November gave us the last two installments of RAISING THE BAR, this month was dominated by LAW & ORDER repeats.

We actually see a bit of resurgence with LAW & ORDER.  Household ratings are up +16%, and demo ratings are up between +11% and +15%. What's behind this?  Surely not the sole reason, but for the first time in our memory USA did not have any version of LAW & ORDER on its December primetime schedule. LAW & ORDER usually takes a bit of a jump in September also, when USA pre-empts the show for tennis.

Tuesdays brought us TNT's new original, LEVERAGE. The show's time-period debut was at 10PM on the 9th. So far the program is performing well. It is getting strong male lead-ins  - Mission Impossible III, Bourne Supremacy, and most notably, the latest installment of THE LIBRARIAN. LEVERAGE is building on these lead-ins among both men and women, and is the top-rated show of the month. As discussed above, it has a male skew, which is a welcome change for the TNT originals.

Wednesdays this month were mostly about holiday specials and holiday movies, while LAW & ORDER dominated last month. Households dropped about 5% of their ratings and demos went up by about 10%.  On Christmas Eve the network went to its vast library of holiday classics and came up with (wait for it....) Spider-Man. It was the lowest rated Wednesday of the month. Apparently audiences were not yet tired of holiday-fare.

Thursday's NBA ran throughout the month. The highest rated showing was on Christmas night. Apparently audiences WERE tired of holiday fare by this time.  NBA is struggling this year - numbers among core men 18-49 are down this month, off -23%.

Friday through Sunday is all about the movies, and the performance depends on which titles are selected and how heavily they are promoted. For the most part Friday was down and Saturday and Sunday were slightly up. However, there were two exceptions to the all-movie weekend rule this month. These exceptions were also the two highlights of the month.  On Sunday, December 7th we got the debut of the special THE LIBRARIAN: CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE, and the launch of the new original series LEVERAGE. These were the two most watched telecasts across all demos for the month. TNT quickly released numbers showing us all that it could launch a high-rated original without THE CLOSER as a lead-in.

ADDITIONAL RATINGS ANALYSIS:

On Sunday, December 7th, telepic THE LIBRARIAN: CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE, the third installment of the "Librarian" franchise, which stars Noah Wyle, drew 5.4 million viewers, according to Cable Fast Nationals.

And on the same night, LEVERAGE premiered with a 3.6 coverage household rating/3.1 national household rating. 4,987,000 viewers; 3,516,000 households; 2,059,000 adults 25-54; and 2,641,000 adults 25-54 watched the series premiere. LEVERAGE scored TNT's best delivery ever of adults 18-49 for an original series telecast during the broadcast season, according to TNT.

ACQUISITIONS:

TNT and sister network TBS are joining the crowds on signing up for theatrical prebuys, locking up the cable-TV rights to four high-visibility movies set for release by New Line and Picturehouse later this year: The Women, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again and the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy Four Christmases.

TBS, TNT and their Cartoon Network also signed a 12-title blockbuster deal with Warner Bros. that will funnel 10,000 B.C., The Dark Knight, Get Smart and three other prebuys to their primetime schedules throughout 2010 and 2011.

The Clone Wars, the CGI Animated film debuted August 15th 2008 was slated to become a weekly series on both Cartoon Network and TNT this fall, but so far only Cartoon Network has the program on its schedule.

A $12 million Lionsgate movie package was sold to TNT and sister network TBS, and includes titles such as Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's Little Girls, Bernie Mac's Pride and Bill Engvall's Delta Force.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RAISING THE BAR, SAVING GRACE, THE CLOSER

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING

Programs filling out the rest of the day are primarily off-net one-hour dramas, otherwise known as "Primetime in the Daytime," and include ANGEL, CHARMED, ER, JUDGING AMY, LAS VEGAS and WITHOUT A TRACE.

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