Animal Planet is capitalizing on their success with edgier fare by scheduling more danger-driven series, featuring unpredictable animals (RIVER MONSTERS, GATOR BOYS). As the network tiptoes around the literal meaning of its name, new themes have begun to appear. Nature has stepped in as a character, creating an animal presence rather than a physical animal. Shows like FINDING BIGFOOT may never see an actual animal, but the setting creates creature-like drama that, based on the strong ratings this show brings, still resonates with viewers.
Animal Planet has announced 3 new series for 2013: BATTLEGROUND: RHINO WARS, SWAMP'D, and TOP HOOKER. Popular series PIT BULLS & PAROLEES has been renewed for a fifth season set to air in the Fall.
Monday and Wednesday primetime schedules mostly offer original series repeats. RIVER MONSTERS: UNHOOKED and GATOR BOYS: XTRA BITES give fans of these shows new variations of previously aired footage.
Nature themed documentaries and specials premiere early in the week on Tuesdays. Thursday nights have recently been dedicated to danger and law themed series. NORTH WOODS LAW was a new addition to the lineup in 2012 and is continuing into 2013.
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are go-to nights for original series premieres. Fridays tend to offer a danger/mystery theme (FATAL ATTRACTIONS, MONSTERS INSIDE ME). Saturdays are historically the night for pet programming. The popularity of shows like TOO CUTE! and PIT BULLS & PAROLEES prove that there is still an audience wanting to see cute pets with heartfelt stories.
Lately, Sunday nights have been used for the slew of original programming that explores the wilder, untamed animal themes. FINDING BIGFOOT and GATOR BOYS are big hitters on Sunday nights, and the network continues to try out new series alongside their more popular shows.
FEBRUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2013 vs. February 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
January was a tough act to follow considering it was the “most watched month in 10 years” (according to the network). Like January, the primetime lineup in February was chock full of series premieres, which helped keep the numbers strong. Overall, however, weekly averages in February showed slight single-digit losses from last month.
Mondays and Wednesdays kept their schedule of series repeats and specials. This method keeps viewers entertained and Monday’s FINDING BIGFOOT blocks boosted the monthly and annual gains by 20% or higher in all demos. Tuesdays continued with its nature-themed schedules. WILD DEEP completed its 6-episode season on a downward ratings slide, losing nearly 30% of its viewers in all demos from January. Because of this, Tuesdays saw double-digit losses across the board both monthly and annually.
On Thursdays, the popular Maine game wardens helped turn things around and NORTH WOODS LAW continued to pull strong numbers. This show rates best among the male 18-49 demo. Even though its popularity brought higher ratings than the beginning of the week, the show actually lost some traction from last month, and its February numbers were down almost 50% in both 18-49 demos. Because of this, monthly averages for Thursday nights dropped in households and its target male 18-49 demo. However, the yearly changes were way up there, showing a 77% increase in that same demo (last year’s schedule included INFESTED! repeats).
Mystery/drama/danger themed Fridays showed a slight drop in ratings, similar to what happened in January. INFESTED! finished up its second season on the 8th, and once it ended, Fridays became solid blocks of FATAL ATTRACTIONS. This show rates significantly better among women 18-49, and this demo showed the least amount of monthly loss and the best annual gain.
Weekends typically draw the most viewers to Animal Planet, and February was no exception. Saturdays, which are dedicated to familiar pet programming, are no doubt a guilty pleasure among families. PIT BULLS & PAROLEES was the top program of the month and finished its fourth season with a two-part season finale on the 16th. The epic part two finale was the highest rated telecast among women 18-49. Thanks to these strong numbers, this show has already been renewed for a fifth season. While the annual changes for Saturdays stayed almost flat, the monthly gains showed solid double-digits.
PUPPY BOWL IX was the best PUPPY BOWL yet, boasting a 64% growth from last year. Ratings for this special were best among women 18-49. The last three Sundays in this survey kept a steady schedule of WILD WEST ALASKA, GATOR BOYS, and FINDING BIGFOOT, each week offering premiere episodes of each show. Ratings stayed strong across the board, however, they weren’t good enough to win over last month. Despite an almost identical schedule, Sundays lost by about 20% in all demos from January. Annual changes remained just about flat, except for women 18-49, which dropped 13%.
In March we can look forward to a new miniseries following an anti-poaching unit in South Africa titled BATTLEGROUND: RHINO WARS. This will air on the 7th.