JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
This most female of networks runs a structurally very predictable and stable schedule. Most nights if you like what's on at 8pm, you'll like the whole evening, for they stack as heavily as virtually any network out there. Often, the same series title will run for an entire evening. The range of programming is very wide, with original series related to weddings taking up a lot of real estate (MY FAIR WEDDING, BRIDEZILLAS, AMAZING WEDDING CAKES). Off-network newsmagazine reversions are a popular staple, and THE LOCATOR, an original production aimed at finding and re-uniting family members lost to one another, remains a fairly strong performer. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention GOLDEN GIRLS. This sitcom antique, with its famous blue-haired ensemble cast, often gets more telecasts than any other title, and it has for years. Sound crazy? Watch the network. It works.
JULY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
It’s difficult to sugarcoat the caliber of month that WE tv plodded through this August. The network’s “strongest” program was GOLDEN GIRLS – highlighting a dearth of popular, original content.
This was compounded by the fact that WE tv’s next largest draw was “Prime Movie” UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. The lack of shows unique to the network with any real appeal is a trouble spot for WE tv.
BRIDEZILLAS had the highest rated telecast of the month for its August 8th episode – the midpoint of its eighth season. BRIDZILLAS’ WHERE ARE THEY NOW special also did comparatively well.
WE tv’s slew of bridal programming fell short of acquired programming like GIRLS and TUSCAN SUN but was clearly more well received than the rest of the slate. MY FAIR WEDDING, BIG EASY BRIDES, and BRIDEZILLAS all found themselves in the middle of the pack. The tandem of BRIDEZILLAS and BIG hoisted Sunday nights above the rest of the week.
Friday marathons of FRASIER failed to live up to the precedent set by fellow acquired classic GOLDEN GIRLS. Despite this, the show was by no means a flop in terms of WE tv standards – four of the episodes managed to crack the top twenty telecasts.
The remainder of the programming was truly anemic. WE tv made a big thematic push revolving around reality shows dealing with family and/or food. Unfortunately, this fixation on one specific genre has not paid off the network (unlike truTV’s obsession with blue-collar reality.)
Of the “family/food” programming cluster, CUPCAKE GIRLS lead the list. CUPCAKE is now in its second season but has failed to attract a solid fan base. Conversely, FAMILY RESTAURANT just debuted in August – but also failed to find an audience. However, the reality show – based around Chinese restaurant owners – did come out on top of STATEN ISLAND CAKES.
But even the pathetic CAKES was a soaring triumph juxtaposed with the incomparably poor SINBAD: IT’S JUST IN THE FAMILY. While the rest of WE’s shows had at least an inkling of a female audience, SINBAD didn’t muster an audience – anywhere.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Known in development circles for smart, approachable executives, WEtv strikes us as especially approachable at the moment. They have relatively few titles that are used heavily in a very predictable, user-friendly schedule. Strong performers at the moment include THE LOCATOR, BRIDEZILLAS and MY FAIR WEDDING. Don't even think about men when pondering what to pitch these folks. They view in such small numbers that they're often barely measurable. Watching this network is especially important in understanding it because there's a mix of old off-network acquisitions with original productions. Ancient GOLDEN GIRLS sitcom episodes and reversions of old 20/20 and 48 HOURS segments coexist with some very smart original productions. It's impossible to understand how this works without watching. And following the network here each month. Come in with a new, affordable twist, and these folks will listen.