With a determined emphasis on original programming, A&E has strived for a primetime lineup comprised entirely of original series. STORAGE WARS and spin-offs STORAGE WARS TEXAS and STORAGE WARS NEW YORK continue to be a dominating force in the schedule, appearing in the primetime lineup on multiple days during January. Crime continues to be the theme for the Thursday night lineup, which features THE FIRST 48 and this month, BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT, which replaced PANIC 9-1-1 from December. Other reality originals air on Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday, while Sunday nights have shifted from scripted originals to more STORAGE. The schedule ranges from stacked episodes of popular favorites, to appointment viewing, to stunts.
JANUARY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
January 2013 was a somewhat rough start to the new year for A&E. With only a few series premieres during the month, January's overall ratings were down 13% compared to last year, and dropped 9% compared to December 2012. Despite the overall downward trend, both Friday's and Sunday's primetime lineups were bright spots, as DUCK DYNASTY and STORAGE WARS continue to be big audience draws.
As we noted last month, the season finale of DUCK DYNASTY on 12/5, shattered all ratings records for the network. Still, even in reruns, the program cracked the top ten telecasts for the month, and scored above primetime average on Friday nights in January, leading to a 29% yearly increase for Friday nights compared to January 2012.
STORAGE WARS, which dominated the primetime schedule, helped lift Sunday nights up 15% compared to January 2012, and 9% from December 2012. January also saw the debut of spin-off series STORAGE WARS NEW YORK on January 1 in the 10pm and 10:30pm slots, leading out from STORAGE WARS TEXAS. Both series outperformed primetime average by a long shot, and drove Tuesday nights to be the strongest of the week for A&E; however, the night was still down compared to January 2012. An over-reliance on the franchise might be to blame.
Crime continues to be the subject for Friday nights. In January, BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT replaced PANIC 9-1-1 in the 10pm slot, and the night was up in overall viewers, and among the female demographics compared to December. BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT was also one of the top performing programs of the month, coming in just behind STORAGE WARS TEXAS and STORAGE WARS NEW YORK in January.
Most of the other nights of the week were comprised of more re-airs of STORAGE WARS, DUCK DYNASTY, and a few other original series. As 2013 continues, A&E has a few more high-profile series set to debut in the coming months; a few more series to freshen up the lineup will hopefully serve to reinvigorate viewers with fresh ideas.