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A&E Analysis - June 2010 - Broadcasting & Cable

A&E Analysis - June 2010

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JUNE 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The network's scheduling approach appears to break the week into two parts:  Monday-Thursday, and the weekend.  In both instances, it's all about stacking themes or singular series throughout the night.

Monday-Thursday is dominated by reality based series, mostly within the crime and justice category.  Signature series INTERVENTION, DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, and FIRST 48 anchor the evenings, more often than not, in the form of two hour blocks.  The 10pm timeslots feature a rotating mix of real life and reality series that include the human condition, crime, pop culture, celeb-reality, and paranormal.  Many of the series tend to be half hours scheduled back to back to fill the slot.

Friday and Saturday feature three hour stacks of CRIMINAL MINDS.  Sunday nights have been switching every few months between CSI: MIAMI/CRIMINALMINDS and reality series, with dramas the current mainstay.

JUNE 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /June 2010 vs. June 2009 (% Change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-11%

-25%

-16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-29%

-24%

-26%

Wednesday 8-11pm

34%

25%

37%

Thursday 8-11pm

16%

29%

28%

Friday 8-11pm

2%

17%

22%

Saturday 8-11pm

22%

-3%

2%

Sunday 8-11pm

41%

-13%

0%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

9%

-2%

4%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

June puts in a steady performance for the network with slight increases in key demos.  Overall audiences are up a hefty 9%, largely the result of CRIMINAL MINDS.  Target adults were slighty down for 18-49 (-2%) and slightly up for 25-54's (4%).  Median age is up 5% over last year, another consequence of the CRIMINAL MINDS acquisition. 

The week remains a divided one.  Monday-Thursday features mostly the reality/unscripted offerings and goes much younger than the median age.  Weekends are filled with off net dramas, and age up roughly 10 years from the earlier part of the week.  One half delivers the demos, the other delivers the volume.  Premieres were fairly limited in June.  No new series hit the schedule and regular series with premieres were confined to Wednesdays and Thursdays.  No coincidence they were the two highest rated nights of the week in the target demo.

With most series in repeat mode, veteran contributor DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER takes the top spot for the month.  Dog and family overdelivered the network averages as much as 50% in target adults.  In addition, they were up 30-40% in target adults over last year.  Pretty darn good for the long running Wednesday anchor. 

We asked for more premieres of BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR and we got them in June.  Full month of premieres drove the little series that could well above net average and into the #2 slot for the month.  Repeats delivered as well in the 10:30 slot.  Even a rare Saturday night stack of episodes outperformed the night's normal delivery in target adults. 

THE FIRST 48 was the only other property with multiple premieres for the month.  Thursdays were filled each week with three hour stacks in prime.  Series was up mid to high single digits over last year in target adults and overdelivered the June averages as well.  Add it all up and Thursdays are the second highest rated night of the week in the key demos.

Monday nights were off considerably with HOARDERS and INTERVENTION largely in repeats.  HOARDERS was still delivering fairly well, especially with women in both key demos.  INTERVENTION dropped off considerably from last year, roughly 15-25% in target adults.  The Emmy winner is in need of some fresh eps.

CRIMINAL MINDS was up single digit pecentages from May, airing primarily on the weekends.  The off net drama was dropped on Tuesdays in favor of repeats of unscripted series.  Total audiences are just above average for the month, with an underdelivery in target adults.

Next month the channel's newest drama, THE GLADES, hits the schedule.  Schedule could use some fresh properties.  Early returns are pretty solid.  Stay tuned.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

A&E made a lot of drastic program content changes in recent years, going more mainstream in reality and moving away from such staple doc series as BIOGRAPHY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS, and AMERICAN JUSTICE.   Properties like STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMEN, THE FIRST 48 and MANHUNTERS still maintain the network's roots in crime/investigation, while reality shows like DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, INTERVENTION, HOARDERS, and GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS define the network today.  DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER and GROWING UP GOTTI helped bring A&E into the world of general entertainment, by taking its tradition of crime into reality programming. After growing in popularity with younger demos, A&E was able to branch out even more with shows like INKED, KING OF CARS, and DRIVING FORCE.  All of these programs had compelling, quirky and/or unique characters, along with something edgy in their lifestyle.  The genre has grown to include the human condition and the paranormal. 

In early 2007, the network announced its first development slate of drama series in years.  The first project to come out of that slate, THE CLEANER starring Benjamin Bratt, premiered in July, 2008.  A second season soon followed.  THE BEAST, starring the late Patrick Swayze, solidified the network's foothold in the genre, building on their acquired dramas, particularly CRIMINAL MINDS, and the successful real life franchises. The newest addition, THE GLADES, hit the schedule this summer and more pilots are in the production hopper now.

A&E tries to be just edgy enough to fuel publicity and appeal to a younger audience. Strong characters, as in DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER and BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, mixed in select celeb-reality offerings sit across the week.  The human condition has formed the basis for their Monday nights over the last year with INTERVENTION, OBSESSED, and HOARDERS. 

IMPORTANT: The network doesn't refer to itself as a "women's" channel, but the gender skew leans almost 60% female.  Something to keep in mind when developing a program pitch.

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