TruTV Analysis - September 2011

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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 August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)




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MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Although truTV’s monthly and yearly numbers were down, the network’s longstanding hits performed well.  HARDCORE PAWN – truTV’s most popular program – continued to dominate in the homestretch of its fourth season.

PAWN was the highest rated show for the month – 70% of September’s top 20 telecasts were comprised of the show.  While PAWN is clearly male skewing, the show managed to attract a fair female audience considering truTV’s demographic.

The network remains very encouraged by the show’s staying power: PAWN consistently lands among the top five basic cable shows in its timeslot.

LIZARD LICK TOWING was also a bright spot for the network.  The repo show debuted earlier this year before going on hiatus until recently.  Now, TOWING is closing out the second half of its first season with a vengeance.  The show adheres to truTV’s tested formula for success: engaging characters caught up in gritty, blue-collar work.  While the show doesn’t compete on the same stage as PAWN, it’s delivering compelling numbers – especially for such a new show.

Wednesdays were the second biggest night in primetime thanks to OPERATION REPO.  REPO’s September ratings compared to last year held steady, with the show maintaining its mostly male audience.  The show has displayed considerable longevity and there are no signs of a slowdown.

Acquired game show WIPEOUT fared well in the month of its debut, finding a decent audience.  WIPEOUT – a departure from the networks usual themes – was also the most female-viewed show of the month.

Despite WIPEOUT’s success, SOUTH BEACH TOW edged out the acquired program in the ratings game.  While the show’s finale dipped slightly, TOW has proved a hit for the network and a second season is in the works.

Unfortunately, success was not doled out in equal measure.  The initially promising BEAR SWAMP RECOVERY plummeted in the ratings.  And while BEAR’s fall is disconcerting, it doesn’t compare to HULK HOGAN’S MICRO CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING’s mammoth flop.  The much-publicized show fell flat on its face as Hogan’s star power failed to conjure up an audience.  Ultimately, the show ranked dead last among truTV’s slate.