The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday. The practice of scattering encores throughout the week has been curtailed (for the most part), giving movies a dominant, if not prominent role. Sunday night is an ever-changing mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.
MARCH 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2013 vs. March 2012 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MARCH 2013: BET made some strides from February, increasing month over month ratings by 5% for men 18-49 and by 13% for women 18-49. But compared to last year the net is still underperforming, down 4% for men and 12% for women. The crux of the issue lies with the late start of THE GAME this year. THE GAME, together with LET’S STAY TOGETHER, have pushed BET to new heights in first quarter for two years running. This year the program is being retooled with a new cast, and has gotten off to a late start. New programs REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD and SECOND GENERATION WAYANS were put in to place earlier this year, and while they gave decent performances, they couldn’t hold up to THE GAME.
The good news is, THE GAME is finally back for its sixth season. It returned in the last week of March in the signature Tuesday night slot, with a one-hour 100th episode. BET’s press release claimed it “delivered more viewers and adults 18-49 compared to all other returning cable sitcom telecasts this season making it the #1 returning sitcom telecast on cable.” That might be true, but we should note that the March premiere this year delivered less than half the adult 18-49 ratings of last season’s January 2012 premiere.
LET’S STAY TOGETHER’s third season premiere followed at 11PM, and again BET claimed record numbers: “THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER are now this season’s top 2 returning sitcom series premieres on cable among total viewers. And, the LET’S STAY TOGETHER season 3 premiere telecast is the #1 sitcom telecast in its time-slot on cable among all viewers and adults 18-49 this season.”
THE GAME (season 6) ran two more times, and episodes from seasons passed ran across the week as well, totaling 22 telecasts in all. Annual special RIP THE RUNWAY ran this month as well (with two primetime encores), pulling strong numbers among women. The strong presence of these two programs helped push the network’s average primetime skew back to a female focus.
REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD and SECOND GENERATION WAYANS retained a strong presence on the line-up, and their premiere telecasts continued to deliver. In fact, REAL HUSBANDS premieres outpaced THE GAME’s season debut among men. BET has already announced REAL HUSBANDS will return in fourth quarter for another season.
Sunday night was the growth night of the month. It was the only night of the week to increase both male and female ratings vs. last year. It took the biggest gains compared to last month as well, doubling both men and women 18-49 ratings vs. February. Surprisingly, this stand-out growth did not come from new programs. It stemmed from a slightly improved movie line-up, better numbers for REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD encores and WAYANS and a single encore of the premiere episode of THE GAME, season 6.
BET released its plans for the future at its 2013/2014 upfront presentation. While the list is not deep, it is broad. New projects range from a movie (Being Mary Jane), unscripted reality (BURNS BBQ), comedy (COMIC VIEW) and a talk show (TD JAKES PRESENTS). Returning programs include 106 & PARK, APOLLO LIVE, BOBBY JONES GOSPEL, LET’S STAY TOGETHER, REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD, SUNDAY BEST, and of course, THE GAME.