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.
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.
2013 Upfront news revealed the network is realizing its strongest series and renewing them, while latching onto popular themes as it green lights new originals.
New series include
Adventure themed: ICE COLD GOLD, ALASKA BUSH FAMILY, CATCH AND RELEASE, POLAR BEAR CROSSING, UNDERWORLD.
Animal themed: ANIMAL BFF'S, CLIPPED!, MY TINY TERROR.
Fish themed: EEL OF FORTUNE, TOP HOOKER
Other: TREEHOUSE MASTERS (similar to TANKED - treehouse builders)
APRIL 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Life at Animal Planet these days is just keeping on the up and up. April held on to the annual demo gains the network has been enjoying so far in 2013, although the gains were only in the single digits. A few nights of annual loss caused this decrease, but overall Animal Planet is staying on an upswing.
In April, season five of RIVER MONSTERS came back with a vengeance. This adventure filled fishing show premieres on Sunday nights, but repeats and variations were scattered throughout the beginning of the week. This show is incredibly popular among men 18-49, and the Monday night repeats boosted that demo by 47% from last month.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays both pull mid-range numbers to the network. Tuesdays are typically reserved for nature-themed specials and programs. Wednesdays will mirror Monday’s schedule with series repeats. This month both nights stayed even with March, but Wednesdays showed some significant annual loss, despite an almost identical schedule in 2012.
NORTH WOODS LAW finished out its second season on the first Thursday in April. It’s replacement SWAMP WARS did not continue the strong numbers and this night showed more than 20% loss across the board from March. Good thing a new season of NORTH WOODS LAW is currently in production.
Fridays in April continued the third season of TANKED. This show is popular among both men and women. New show SWAMP’D! premiered this month at the 8pm lead-in timeslot to TANKED. The half-hour reality show following colorful characters living in a Louisiana swamp pulled mediocre ratings, and contributed to Friday nights pulling mid-range ratings and an annual loss among men 18-49.
Saturday nights this month held on to the furry pets theme and premiered the fourth season of MY CAT FROM HELL. This show (like most of the network’s pet programming) is mostly popular among women 18-49 and the premiere was the top telecast for that demo, showing big gains both monthly and annually.
As the network continues to steer the ship closer to the “Planet” and further from the “Animal”, brand new show ICE COLD GOLD following gold prospectors in Greenland, premiered on the 21st following RIVER MONSTERS. Sundays are easily the highest rated night of the week. Both of these shows are most popular among men 18-49 and the adventure-themed night jumped up in that demo by 60% over last month, and 10% over last year.
May 20 – 27 is Monster Week at Animal Planet. Last year viewers were intrigued by the special MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND. This year the saga will continue with MERMAIDS: THE NEW EVIDENCE along with several other monster-related specials. New episodes of RIVER MONSTERS, ICE COLD GOLD, MY CAT FROM HELL, and TANKED will continue throughout the month of May as well.