TNT Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 25, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS: BONES (DRAMA)
Procedural drama in which a highly skilled female anthropologist and her forensics team solve a series of "unsolvable" FBI case files, finding clues in victims'(Tm) bones. (Off FOX)
Status: On air. Produced by: 20th Century Fox Television

THE CLOSER
(DRAMA)
Drama featuring a quirky female police chief (Kyra Sedgwick) who comes to Los Angeles to head up a special unit of the LAPD that focuses on high profile murder cases.
Status: First half of 5th season 6/8/09 - 8/24/09. 15 x 60. Produced by: Warner Brothers Television / Shephard Robin

COLD CASE (DRAMA)
Police / crime drama featuring a lone female detective in the Philadelphia homicide squad who finds her calling when she's assigned to crimes that have never been solved. (Off CBS)
Status: Last on air in May. Produced by: Warner Brothers Television, Jerry Bruckheimer Films & Television / CBS TV Studios

DARK BLUE (DRAMA)
Follows a secret division of undercover LA police officers who walk the line between doing their job and being seduced by easy money.
Premiere Date: July 15 2009. 13 x 60. Produced by Warner Brothers Television / Bruckheimer Films & Television.

HAWTHORNE (DRAMA)
A woman and single mother is also the head of nursing at a hospital in North Carolina.
Premiere Date: June 16, 2009.  10 x 60. Produced by Sony Pictures TV.

LAW & ORDER
(DRAMA)
Police/crime drama that focuses both on the crime as well as the legal proceedings of a case. (Off NBC)
Status: On air. Produced by: Universal Media Studios / Wolf Films

LEVERAGE
(DRAMA)
A team of thieves, hackers and grifters act as modern-day Robin Hoods, taking revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.
Status: First half of second season premiered 7/15/09. 15 x 60. Produced by: Electric Entertainment

RAISING THE BAR
(DRAMA)
Legal drama from Stephen Bocchco that looks at courtroom battles as well as the relationships among the people on different sides of the somewhat broken criminal justice system.
Status: First half of second season6/8/09 - 8/24/09. 15 x 60. Produced by: ABC Studios / Steven Bochco Productions

SAVING GRACE
(DRAMA)
An unconventional angel visits a cynical, hard-living police detective (Holly Hunter), setting off a drama series that deals with police cases and spiritual issues.
Status: First half of third season 6/16/09 - 8/17/09. 18 x 60. Produced by: Fox Television Studios / Grand Productions Inc. / Nancy Miller Productions.

JULY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

THE CLOSER, RAISING THE BAR, HAWTHORNE, SAVING GRACE, DARK BLUE, LEVERAGE


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TNT serves up stacks of female-skewing (mostly) crime dramas Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesdays are male-skewing crime dramas. NBA usually runs on Thursdays, when it's the season, and blockbuster theatricals dominate Friday to Sunday. Premiere nights of original dramas, are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

TNT has announced a big move toward originals in primetime. They plan to have three full nights (Monday - Wednesday) of original programming throughout the year by 2010. This summer is the test run.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE debut December '09


RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison: 
July 2009 vs. July 2008(% Change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-11%

19%

-17%

Tuesday 8-11pm

20%

39%

44%

Wednesday 8-11pm

7%

15%

19%

Thursday 8-11pm

-31%

-13%

-17%

Friday 8-11pm

-9%

-22%

-23%

Saturday 8-11pm

-17%

-25%

-21%

Sunday 8-11pm

10%

7%

11%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-6%

-7%

-5%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

This is the month we've been waiting for. The month TNT has been gearing up for since it changed to the WE KNOW DRAMA tag. Three nights of original series. Tried and true franchises helping to launch new ones. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood. A successful formula for drama. Broadcast networks that don't run new scripted series in the summer. What could go wrong?

We would expect to see big audience gains on TNT vs. last year. Instead, established franchises showed their age and the audience showed its adeptness with the remote. Viewers found the programs they were interested in, and then moved on. Audiences were down between ten and twenty percent on Mondays. Women were up by over 60% on Tuesdays, while men were relatively flat. On Wednesdays, men 25-54 were up 35% while women were basically flat. Thursday through Saturday generally took 20% declines. Sunday was up nicely with men (+25%), yet down among women (-10%).

Monday night's story is mixed. The night is flat to slightly down vs. last month, and has lost almost 20% of its audience vs. last year. The year over year losses are coming from THE CLOSER. While its premiere telecasts at 9PM remain at the top of the TNT ratings charts (particularly for households and women), ratings for the program are down by over 30% compared to July 2008. The good news is that RAISING THE BAR at 10PM is up by about 10% vs. last month. It should be noted that the program loses over 30% of its CLOSER lead-in. However, the real concern isn't so much the audience erosion, but the audience age. Monday is the top rated night on TNT among households, but not on core demos. The Monday night audience is six years older than the network average. And the network average for July '09 is the oldest we have seen since August '07.

On Tuesdays, TNT brings us new drama HAWTHORNE and the third year of SAVING GRACE. Even though it lost audience vs. its premiere month, HAWTHORNE is proving to be strong with women, and has already received an order for season two. Compared to HAWTHORNE, SAVING GRACE delivers 20% fewer women 18-49 and 10% fewer women 25-54, and it has been officially cancelled. The second half of this third season will run next summer, and then the program will come to a close.  Women ratings for GRACE are down by over 20% vs. last year, when THE CLOSER was its lead-in. (remember, THE CLOSER is down over 30% on women ratings vs. last year). GRACE has lost nearly 20% of its core demo audience vs. last month's premiere numbers (as has HAWTHORNE). So ratings are down, but they are in line with other TNT fare. As one of the network's top performers, and an established franchise, we have to believe production costs are at play here.

In the middle of the month, Wednesdays on TNT brought us the second season of LEVERAGE and the launch of DARK BLUE. 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the season premiere of LEVERAGE and 3.5 million viewers tuned in for the series premiere of DARK BLUE. (TNT press). Unlike the Monday and Tuesday series, Wednesday night's line-up has an even male/female skew, putting them at the top of TNT's male ratings chart. The two programs apparently complement each other; numbers are close, with DARK BLUE holding a narrow lead among women and a 10% to 20% lead among men.

CSI: NY made its TNT debut this month. It usually takes a while for "filler" programming to find its way, or more accurately, for the audience to find its way to the program. Seemingly relegated to Thursdays and Fridays for now, despite talk of a Monday-Friday strip, the program underperforms BONES (by about 40%) and last month's LAW & ORDER (by about 20%).

With all the focus on the early part of the week, Thursday through Sunday saw dramatic declines this July. NASCAR on Saturdays and a July 4th weekend run of Independence Day were the bright spots in the rest of the line-up. Even with these spikes, audiences were down in the double-digit percentages.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

CSI: NY

Turner Broadcasting bought a TV-exclusive 13-title movie package from Warner Bros. in May 2009. Titles include Terminator Salvation (for TNT), Watchmen, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Gran Torino, The Hangover, The Informant and Sherlock Holmes. Each movie will air about 30 months after their theatrical releases, putting the first start date at the end of 2011.

A Lionsgate deal was announced in April 2009, that will give TNT and TBS first network TV rights to The Bank Job, Transporter 3 and Crank: High Voltage (plus Tyler Perry movies Madea Goes to Jail and The Family That Preys) in 2010 / 2011. Second-window rights were purchased for Disaster Movie and My Best Friend's Girl.

A 2008 prebuy deal with New Line and Picturehouse will bring The Women, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again and the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy Four Christmases to the network.

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.

Also in 2008, 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:

HAWTHORNE renewed for a second season.

LEVERAGE renewed for a third season.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

SAVING GRACE will add three new episodes to this third and final season..

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