TruTV Analysis - May 2010



* 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 /May 2010 vs. May 2009 (% 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

A good May.  In fact, the network's press cites this as their most watched May ever for Men 18-34 and 18-49.  Target demos were up 3-5% over last year.  For the most part, the increases were spread across the entire week.  Month to month comparisons have the channel dropping 12-13% across the board.  As the schedule comes down from its traditional 1Q peak, we expected it. The net has seen the same drop for the four years we've been tracking the figures.

OPERATION REPO fell from it's perch in May, but not too far.  The franchise series was still well above average in total audiences and the key demos.  It did fall slightly back in the M18-49 age break, but led the way for the older men.  Only one premiere this month as repeats continue to drive the numbers.

SOUTHERN FRIED STINGS followed its strong start in April with an even better two weeks in May.  All four half hour episodes landed in the Top Ten telecasts for the month.  Moreover, it was the #1 series for Men 18-49 and tied with REPO for #1 in Men 25-54 for the month.  Audience levels held up well from the REPO lead, and stayed consistent across the hour.  Unfortunately, the series was shortlived, lasting just four weeks on the schedule.  It's the best companion we've seen for REPO.  Expect a new season as soon as production can crank them out.

IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH garnered above average audiences on the two weeks of premieres.  Two weeks of repeats didn't fare as well and the series dropped 15% from April as a result.  Keep those premieres coming.

INSIDE AMERICAN JAILS was in full repeat mode on Sunday nights, but audiences didn't seem to mind.  It was the schedule's 2nd highest rated series overall, and 2nd for Men 18-49 as well. 

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS was up from last year on Thursdays.  Same for MOST SHOCKING on Wednesdays.  MOST DARING dropped on Wednesdays to balance it out.  FORENSIC FILES was down after having a solid April. 

Saturday night stacks this month included BAIT CAR, VACATION VIDEOS, MOST SHOCKING, and REHAB: PARTY AT THE HARD ROCK.  The night is steadily improving, up 20% over last year for target men.  It's now outpacing Wednesdays and Fridays on the schedule.  Nice.


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.