TruTV Analysis - July 2010

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* Bold denotes programming change


Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS.  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 OPERATION REPO, 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 /July 2010 vs. July 2009 (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




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Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

July brings single digit growth for the channel, dispersed rather nicely across all of the key demos, both men and women.  Total audiences were up 5%, with key adult demos rising 6-7%.  Median dropped a point from last year and continues to hold steady at relatively younger levels over the last few months.

OPERATION REPO dropped 15% plus with men compared to last year, and lost its #1 place on schedule in the process.  Might it be fading after so many months of dominance?  Not quite.  The lone premiere episode was the top rated single telecast on the schedule in July.  Repeats on Monday and Tuesday were still strong, and the title can be found peppered about the Top 20 list for the month.  Ratings were steady from June.  If anything, the rise of other series will reduce the reliance on REPO as the single title propping up the numbers and that's a good thing.

REPO'S Monday lead-out, ALL WORKED UP, followed suit with a fall off from June.  Even so, the series was above network averages for the key male demos.  Like most series, new episodes excel in the 10pm slot, with repeats falling off at 10:30.

We may have spoken too soon on BAIT CAR last month.  The Tuesday series held steady from June, but only as a result of one strong week.  The remaining three weeks were well below average, particularly with women.  The night fell almost 10% from year ago.  

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS and IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH were fine for M18-49 and above average for M25-54.  Following a familiar pattern, both series drew well with premieres, OK with repeats.  Both series also jumped big time in men from last men, a big reason for the overall rise in the network for July.

There's a new sheriff in town.  A new season of LAS VEGAS JAILHOUSE hit the air on Sundays at 10pm and immediately became the highest rated series on the schedule.  In addition, it landed in the top three for target men in both age groups.

TOP 20 MOST SHOCKING landed the top spot for both key male demos.  Thursday premieres were strong and Friday repeats led the night.

FORENSIC FILES was up 30% for target men.  Unfortunately, actual delivery figures remain some of the lowest on the schedule and it's taking a lower profile on Fridays as a result.   Sunday anchor COPS was way down with men, way up with women.   The older skew makes it a tough lead for JAILHOUSE at the moment.


The focus is 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.  Witness the success of SMOKING GUN and IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH .

Pay attention to SOUTHERN FRIED STINGS.  A cop/reality series in the best tradition of the network.  The genre remains very strong in the schedule.