TruTV Analysis - December 2009

Publish date:


* Bold denotes programming change


Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS. Since most of their series provide a different take in the area of criminal law and justice, there are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on OPERATION REPO, comedic video clip properties, and a handful of other series dominate the schedule.

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network created a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  The additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like MOST SHOCKING, they have moved it into a regular timeslot.

With the transition of the network to TruTv at the beginning of 2008, the crime and investigation focus was replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While a small base of crime series continues, new programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, poolside waitresses in Las Vegas, and repo men.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2009 vs. December 2008  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

After a period of growth, the channel leveled off to the end the year.  Younger men were flat versus last year with the 25-54 group down 6%.  Monday-Thursday carried the network in December with the weekends proving to be the weak spot.

Big night was Tuesday.  Numbers are up over last year, boosting it to the highest rated night of the week.  Repeats of OPERATION REPO at 8pm pull some strong deliveries.  Premieres of FULL THROTTLE SALOON at 10pm rounded things out very strong as well.

OPERATION REPO continues to set the pace for the channel, holding its position as the top rated series on the schedule.  Monday premieres were strong and repeats remain solid.  Overall, 14 of the top 20 rated telecasts for December have the name OPERATION REPO on them.  

CONSPIRACY debuted this month with some fine performances.  Series lands the #2 slot on the ratings chart.   Premieres are well above network average, with a couple of repeat eps slightly below the new eps.

IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH improves over last month with target men, although the 18-49 group dropped off slightly.  Repeats held up very well and, in some cases, exceed premiere offerings on the same night.  Couple of airings on Christmas Eve were some of the best of the month.

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS featured a couple of premieres, increasing about 10% in men over last year.  MOST DARING was also up, albeit with lower the average numbers for the network.  MOST SHOCKING and COPS fell off from last year, as did VACATION VIDEOS. Veteran series FORENSIC FILES featured several premieres,coming out flat for younger men and down about 10% for the 25-54


Beginning January 1, 2008, the network became truTV, focusing on first-person access to real-life stories.  Tagline says it all: Not Reality.  Actuality.  The network describes itself as the home of true real-life programming, not the manufactured reality found elsewhere on the dial.


Men are making up almost 55% of the 18-49 and 25-54 audiences.  If you're pitching new concepts, targeting that younger male audience is advisable.

With fresh concepts like BLACK GOLD and SMOKING GUN taking to the air, mainstay series like FORENSIC FILES and others have been relegated to supporting roles.  The household numbers aren't enough to keep them front and center anymore, as the network moves towards a demographic play. Humor, comic relief, and fast paced video clip based ideas are finding a home the last few months.  Witness the success of SMOKING GUN and IT ONLY HURTS.