TNT Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 24, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

NASCAR, THE CLOSER, SAVING GRACE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

There are usually 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, has been relegated to Mondays for now.

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

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JUNE - JULY:

The big change to the schedule was the addition of THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE to Monday nights. Beyond that, COLD CASE moved in on Wednesdays at 10, bumping LAW & ORDER or a movie out of that time slot. Thursdays had two runs of LAW & ORDER at 8PM and 9PM, followed by a movie. In June there was just an 8PM run of LAW & ORDER before the movie kicked in at 9PM.

JULY:
PREMIERES:

** July 14, 2008 @ 9PM: Season 4 of THE CLOSER
** July 14, 2008 @ 10PM: Season 2 of SAVING GRACE

AUGUST & BEYOND:
PREMIERES:

** Sept 1, 2008 @ 10PM: Series premiere of RAISING THE BAR
** Sept 8, 2008 between LAW & ORDER eps: microseries BLANK SLATE (20 4-minute episodes)
** Winter 2008: LEVERAGE
** January 2009: TRUST ME

FINALES:

** August 25: SAVING GRACE goes on hiatus
** September 29:  THE CLOSER

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

TNT fell slightly this year vs. last, with primetime household share off -6%, men 18-49 off by -11% and women 18-49 share down by -8%. 25-54 demos fell  -7%. This year's hits, THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE on Mondays and NASCAR on a couple of Saturdays topped the cable charts, but it wasn't enough to pull up TNT's bottom line.

Cable's top rated program this month was THE CLOSER. With two original telecasts and two encores this July, versus eight telecasts last year, TNT's Emmy nominated program has slightly improved household (+6%) and female (+9%) ratings. The same cannot be said of TNT's other Emmy nominated original. SAVING GRACE debuted in July 2007, and was on the air three times this year, one episode from last season and the first two episodes from season two. It was among the top rated telecasts both years, but numbers were far lower this year: forty percent lower on households and one-third lower across all demos.

While these two programs dominated the press and the ratings, LAW & ORDER dominated the weekday line-up with thirty telecasts, a flat household performance and a women 18-49 audience that was ten percent lower than last year.

When NASCAR wasn't on, the weekends were all about movies. Friday and Saturday were the only nights of the week to show double-digit improvements vs. last year, Sunday was down across the board, down slightly for women, but off forty percent for men.

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

TNT's bottom-line is slightly up versus June; up by 15% on household share, flat on 18-49 demos and up 13% on 25-54. Men 18-49 ratings fell -11% while women 25-54 ratings were up 10%. Women 18-49 and men 25-54 ratings were both flat.

With THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE joining the line-up this month, Monday's ratings took sizable leaps on households (+40%), women 18-49 (+53%) and women 25-54 (+61%).  Men were less impressed with the Monday night dramas, as men 18-49 ratings fell -4% and men 25-54 ratings rose by just +14%.

Overall, the 30 telecasts of LAW & ORDER this month were down 10% or so on demo, weighing down TNT's bottom-line. But LAW & ORDER wasn't the only crime drama in town.  BONES had a good run on Tuesdays this month. It nearly always built on its LAW & ORDER lead-in, and performed better than movies that ran in the same timeslot. It was up over 20% across the board versus last month. COLD CASE started running the second Wednesday of the month at 10PM, following back-to-back LAW & ORDERs. While household numbers were better for BONES, the two programs were a virtual tie on all demos except women 25-54, where BONES was again the leader, These two crime dramas both top LAW & ORDER for female audiences, but are lower on households and male audiences. Maybe there is more room for them on the schedule.

Thursdays were a mix of LAW & ORDER and Movies. Again, the older skew of LAW AND ORDER becomes apparent as L&O wins on households and Movies win on 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

Friday through Sunday were all about NASCAR and Movies, with a little LAW & ORDER thrown in (for the L&O addicts who can't wait from Thursday to Monday?). Numbers shifted drastically night to night, depending on movie titles and NASCAR events. They were down Friday and Sunday, up on Saturday. Overall, the movies performed about the same as last month, with a slight uptick among men. The best performing movie this month was the good old classic, The Wizard of Oz.

And so, slowly but surely, TNT is heading in the right direction. They just have to launch a lot more originals and successfully program them across three nights.

ADDITIONAL RATINGS INFORMATION:

According to TNT, SAVING THE BAR's commercial-free Labor Day premiere pulled in 7.7 million viewers and 5.7 million households. That puts the new Stephen Bocchco drama as the #1 ad-supported cable new series launch of all time. (USA's IN PLAIN SIGHT launched earlier this year with 5.2 million viewers.)

THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE both made their season premieres on Monday, July 14. According to TNT, they put in strong performances as ad-supported cable's top two series telecasts for year-to-date among households. THE CLOSER pulled in more than 7.8 million viewers while GRACE pulled in 5.2 million. Both premieres were stronger than last year's averages, but fell short of their '07 premieres. However, last year's premieres ran commercial-free.

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 and will become a weekly series on Cartoon Network and TNT this fall.

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:

None announced.
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, LAS VEGAS and WITHOUT A TRACE.

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