TruTV Analysis - June 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 /June 2010 vs. June 2009 (% Change)




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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

May has traditionally been a slow month for the network, followed by a June rise.  That's true again this year with audiences up 5-6% across the broad from the prior month.  Year ago numbers weren't quite as rosy, but remained solid.  Overall audience was up 5% over last year.  Men, the primary target for this net, were down a slight 2-3%, balanced out significant gains in women.  Median age was steady, with the channel about a point younger from 2009.

ALL WORKED UP premiered its second season on Mondays at 10pm with fantastic success, becoming the top rated series for the network, at least in its regular timeslot.   All six airings, including a couple of first season repeats exceed the schedule's monthly averages for target men, both 18-49 and 25-54.  However, in an interesting twist, the series still dropped from its OPERATION REPO lead-in each week.

So why isn't OPERATION REPO the June's #1 series then?  The answer is repeats and lots of them.  OPERATION REPO's premiere night numbers are still the best on the schedule.  The three premiere episodes leading into ALL WORKED UP were the three highest rated telecasts of the month.  Seven repeat airings also broke into the Top 20 this month, giving the anchor series half of that list.  Nevertheless, the heavy repeat pattern is taking its toll on the stats.  Target men were down 25% from last year. 

BAIT CAR's third season kicked off in fine fashion on Tuesday nights.  Series is showing signs of becoming a very viable supporting character to OPERATION REPO on the schedule.  Back to back premieres in the block drove the night up 5% for target men, and an astounding 20-40% for women.  Including repeats, the series was up more than 20% for Adults from May.

IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH was a tad above average for the month, held back only by a couple of poor showings in the Thursday 10:30 slot.  Target men were down just a small 2-4% from May.   Sunday night's INSIDE series had a similar experience.  Slightly above average for the month, with one difficult week tossed into the mix.  It's worth noting that INSIDE does very well with total audiences, likely a factor of the lead-in it receives from COPS.

MOST DARING and SMOKING GUN PRESENTS both underperformed network averages for target men.  MOST DARING was actually flat to slightly up over last year for target men.  SMOKING GUN was flat for Men 18-49, but down 9% for M25-54.

Veteran series COPS and FORENSIC FILES had divergent experiences in June.  COPS was off more than 20% for target men versus last year, but women made up a good portion of that, rising nearly 10% overall.  FORENSIC FILES had a good showing, up more than 10% for men versus last year and more than 30% from May.


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.