Animal Planet is capitalizing on their success with edgier fare by scheduling more danger-driven series, featuring more unpredictable animals (RIVER MONSTERS, GATOR BOYS, NORTH WOODS LAW).
Thematic scheduling around animals / species is a strategy that has, for the most part, fallen by the wayside. Animal Planet will program series blocks as stunts on virtually any night of the week, as series are continually tested in different scheduling configurations.
Most weeknight programming leans toward the wild or raw side of animal life. Mondays and Wednesdays have been featuring rural America as the setting for several recent series, including HILLBILLY HANDFISHIN’, CALL OF THE WILDMAN, and MUD LOVIN REDNECKS. Tuesdays have gone fishing, airing the popular new series TANKED and other sea-related series. Specials and various original series finish out the week on Thursdays and Fridays. The end of the week is also when the network will try out new themes like medical mysteries (MONSTERS INSIDE ME).
Saturdays are historically the night for pet programming, usually revolving around cats and dogs. Lately the network has been creeping slowly away from furry pets and embracing aquatic pets instead. MY CAT FROM HELL has been keeping those kitty-loving viewers happy, but recently TANKED has become a regular face on Saturdays (along with its aforementioned Tuesday night airings).
Sunday, which used to feature more of a mixed bag, now seems to be firming up with more regularly scheduled programming and specials that explore the wilder, untamed animal themes.
NOVEMBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2012 vs. November 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Despite a primetime lineup plastered with monsters (both real and imagined), aquatic creatures, and snakes, shows like TOO CUTE! and PITBULLS AND PAROLEES remind us that furry pets will still bring big numbers to a network called Animal Planet. These were the top two programs for the month of November. FINDING BIGFOOT and variations of (FINDING BIGFOOT: FURTHER for example), took up a lot of primetime real estate this month. These popular original programs, along with others, helped keep ratings on an upswing compared to both last month and last year.
The front half of the week offered many repeat episodes of original shows that drew reliable audiences and kept ratings strong for the network. Monday night repeats of FINDING BIGFOOT lost among men 18-49 but women of the same age demo were up 30% from last month. Tuesday night’s varied schedule showed an annual loss in all categories, and the night had the lowest average ratings of the week.
Wednesdays and Thursdays bumped numbers up a bit, but nothing too notable happened until Fridays when mystery/wild themed nights that included MONSTERS INSIDE ME helped draw stronger numbers. This show is gaining in popularity and jumped 53% among women 18-49 from last month.
Season 2 of TOO CUTE! continues to pull very strong ratings for the network proving that Animal Planet viewers aren’t tired of shows starring fluffy pets quite yet. The show is actually winning against itself compared to both last month and last year. The second season of TANKED continued with a premiere episode in November after dropping off the lineup in October. Its premiere on the 17th was welcomed back with strong ratings, putting it among the top telecasts of the month and verifying its popularity. These shows, along with premiere episodes of PIT BULLS & PAROLEES kept Saturday nights on an overall upswing this month.
Sundays showed the best monthly and yearly changes, especially among men 18-49 which was up a solid 71% from October. The night offered a two-hour block of FINDING BIGFOOT (including third season premiere episodes at 10PM) each week, which brought much better audiences as compared to an unreliable schedule of specials and repeat original programs last month. In fact, FINDING BIGFOOT landed the top three slots of the top individual telecasts for the month. This night also premiered two episodes of RATTLESNAKE REPUBLIC in November.
The December schedule brings more premiere episodes of TOO CUTE! and PIT BULLS & PAROLEES. Also, repeats of GATOR BOYS comes back to the lineup to get viewers ready for a second season, which will start in January.