WE TV Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 29, 2009)


CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

BRIDEZILLAS (REALITY)
Follows the worst of the worst brides in the days and weeks leading up to their weddings.
Status: Currently airing.


I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE
(REALITY)
This undercover intervention series will attempt to save the life of an overweight person whose family is concerned for their well-being.
Status: Premiere Date: April 25th at 10pm.  Eight, 30 minute eps.  Produced by High Noon Entertainment.


LITTLE MISS PERFECT (REALITY)
WE tv is taking on the controversial world of kids beauty pageants in a new documentary series.  The network has ordered six one-hour episodes which follow Florida families entering their 5 to 11-year-old daughters in a beauty competition. The show will follow the luxurious daily lives of the rich and famous as they shop their way through ultra-expensive stores to buy outrageous things. 
Status: Premiere Date: February 18th at 10pm.


MOST POPULAR (REALITY)
A new game show featuring an all-female jury judging seven contestants with one ultimately named "Most Popular".
Status: Premiere Date: August 2009.  Six, 1-hour episodes.


RAISING SEXTUPLETS (REALITY)
After a two year struggle to conceive, Jenifer and Brian Masche find themselves with sextuplets.
Status: Premiere Date: June 11th at 10pm.  Six, 1-hour episodes.


JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE


TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

PLATINUM WEDDINGS, GOLDEN GIRLS, BRIDEZILLAS, THE LOCATOR, 20/20 ON WE, WOMEN BEHIND BARS, 48 HOURS ON WE, I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE, CINEMATHERAPY


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Structurally, these folks obviously care about predictability and stability. In July, schedule changes were predictably minor.

If schedule simplicity remains a hallmark at WEtv, its range of offerings is instructive to anyone contemplating a pitch there. GOLDEN GIRLS, a 1985-1992 ensemble (of older women) sitcom, 20/20 ON WE, and WOMEN BEHIND BARS might all be said to tell stories in ways that have been around for a long, long time. RAISING SEXTUPLETS, BRIDEZILLAS, I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE and AMAZING WEDDING CAKES are all more hip to 21st Century structuring and packaging. They all coexist in a coherent, female-friendly schedule.


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

**September 27th - MY FAIR WEDDING (season #2) at 10pm.


JULY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

July 2009 vs. July 2008 Ratings

HH      

F25-54

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

43%

-14%

-11%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-21%

-24%

-33%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-8%

-27%

-18%

Thursday 8-11pm

-18%

13%

-27%

Friday 8-11pm

-35%

24%

-17%

Saturday 8-11pm

5%

-18%

-17%

Sunday 8-11pm

27%

7%

5%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

0%

-11%

-8%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

As usual, changes to this schedule were tweaks rather than the major surgery seen at many networks. In a stormy television landscape, this stablest of schedules delivered calm-inducing results: July's Household viewership was identical to June's. Ditto year-to-year. While flat performance isn't bankable long-term, it's no small feat in a a crowded space and a rocky economy. Still, WeTV must be hungry for a new title or two with which to attract new -- and younger -- viewers. Compared to July 2008, the audience is 8% older. That's not good, when you're already an older-skewing network.

Speaking of old, GOLDEN GIRLS, WeTV's indefatigable Energizer Bunny, got some extra play this month, in a move that worked nicely. The all-night stack remained on Monday and on Saturday, four more primetime episodes were added, starting at 9pm, following AMAZING WEDDING CAKES. These replaced BRIDEZILLAS at 9pm and two I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE episodes at 10pm. BRIDEZILLAS, which has been in very heavy use certainly needed the rest. And although that was a great match with AMAZING WEDDING CAKES for 8pm to 9pm flow, the transition to I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE at 10pm had not been a natural one. As a result of this shuffling, Saturdays were up HH 24% over June. What an amazing phenomenon, this ancient sitcom with a graying ensemble cast. Across the entire schedule, it got 66 slots and played a major role in keeping the network's numbers steady. Somewhere, at a school of Communications or at a university Sociology department, there's a dissertation waiting to be written about this show's powerful, long-lasting appeal.

If the broad view across the schedule was flat, the numbers viewed by series performance probably have folks in the network corridors concerned. GOLDEN GIRLS, WOMEN BEHIND BARS, BRIDEZILLAS, AMAZING WEDDING CAKES and RAISING SEXTUPLETS were all down in most columns. RAISING SEXTUPLETS and AMAZING WEDDING CAKES took the biggest hits, falling HH 28% and HH 17%, respectively. In each case, losses in both younger and older women were only slightly lower.

On Fridays, the CINEMATHERAPY-BRIDEZILLA one-two punch that had been so effective last month, got weak in the knees in July. The night was down HH21%, it fell 31% among younger women and with older women was off 24%. Movie choice was a key factor. Warm and fuzzy worked much better than not: DIRTY DANCING did very well. THELMA & LOUISE... wait for it... crashed and burned.

Keep those thinking caps on, producers. This is a network primed for a relatively low-cost original production that will catch and hold some newer, younger viewers without rocking the boat too wildly. This network has a very loyal audience whom WeTV execs need to keep.


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

GHOST WHISPERER (off-net CBS.  Share with SciFi Channel)

GIRLFRIENDS (Off-net CW, last three seasons)

FBI FILES


PROGRAM RENEWALS:

THE LOCATOR (season #2, 14 episodes)

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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