With a determined emphasis on original programming, A&E has strived for a primetime lineup comprised entirely of original series. Hit reality series DUCK DYNASTY has been the hottest show for the network over the last several seasons. The STORAGE WARS franchise, including STORAGE WARS TEXAS and STORAGE WARS NEW YORK continue to be a dominating force in the schedule as well. Crime continues to be the theme for the Thursday night lineup, which features THE FIRST 48 and this month THE KILLER SPEAKS. On the scripted side, Mondays nights in feature BATES MOTEL.
APRIL PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
A&E has made it clear that they are risk-takers, and with risk can come strong reward. This was the case for A&E in April, as a new scripted series BATES MOTEL, and the continuing strong performances from DUCK DYNASTY drove year-to-year numbers up across the board.
On Monday nights, BATES MOTEL, which debuted on March 18th, scored big numbers for the network, driving Monday nights up strongly in overall viewers and younger demographics. Teamed up with DUCK DYNASTY this month, numbers climbed throughout April.
STORAGE WARS anchored the Tuesday primetime schedule in April, serving as a lead-in for AMERICAN HOGGERS, which returned on Tuesday 4/16 in the 10pm slot. While STORAGE scored well above average, HOGGERS lost viewers.
DUCK DYNASTY, which dominated the primetime schedule on Wednesday nights, outperformed network average many times over, driving up the night 180% in overall viewers compared to last year. Numbers grew even more among the younger demographics.
Crime continues to be the subject for Thursday nights. The night was flat compared to last year, despite the premiere of THE KILLER SPEAKS in the 10pm slot. The new series did a good job of retaining viewers from the 9pm lead-in, THE FIRST 48, and THE FIRST 48 is up 13% in overall viewers compared to last year.
More STORAGE WARS and re-airs of DUCK DYNASTY comprised the Friday, Saturday, and Saturday night primetime lineup during April. The re-airs struggled to gain traction, and overall year-to-year numbers were down from 2012. CHASING TAIL, a series which debuted on A&E's sister network History in April made an appearance on the Sunday night schedule for A&E, but wasn't able to hold onto DUCK DYNASTY's big lead-in numbers.
As 2013 continues, A&E has a few more high-profile series set to debut in the coming months including more scripted series and several new, high-profile reality originals. As A&E continues to expand and re-define their brand, perhaps there may be a few more unexpected greenlights in the rest of 2013.