As much as any network in cable, Bravo has a "feel." It's bright, highly energetic and exudes an urban, upscale, sassy sensibility. The network has kept that vibe from becoming snobbish or off-putting with a winking admission that this is all just good, light, entertaining fun -- and everyone's invited. And... though that's mostly work accomplished in development, production and post efforts, it's also a scheduling strategy. There's almost never a show on Bravo's air that feels out of place. So, even though they stack very heavily, a viewer watching at, say, 9pm every night, will see a different program each day, but still feel very much a Bravo viewer. Hourlong programs dominate for now, but look for half hour programs in the future.
DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison December 2011 vs. December 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
DECEMBER 2011: BRAVO maintained its core women 18-49 ratings from last month and from December 2010, while showing small gains on women 25-54 (+2% and +5%). It was a busy month at Bravo, as the net kicked off a promising new series, CHEF ROBLE & CO, and hosted season (possibly series) finales of some not-so-promising new shows, WORK OF ART, FASHION HUNTERS and MAD FASHION. The top franchise, THE REAL HOUSEWIVES was active in BEVERLY HILLS and in ATLANTA, while TOP CHEF is sporting its chef’s hat in Texas.
Looking at the line-up night by night, we see Sundays are still the ratings leader. The night is pacing even with last year. Sundays took a 20% decline from last month, but that can be largely attributed to the Christmas Day repeats. Bravo’s newest hit, CHEF ROBLE & CO runs at 10PM on Sundays, getting a lead-in from new episodes of top-rated REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA. ROBLE pulls strong numbers, but it drops about half of core women 18-49 viewers from its lead-in. How would the show do without Nene and company? When it followed REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS on a Monday it dropped about 40% of the 18-49 lead-in, a slightly bigger drop-off than the regularly scheduled HOUSEWIVES encores get. But the program is still in its infancy. Look for it to get the full Bravo marathon treatment soon.
Each of the four premiere episodes of HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA topped the charts this month, followed by the four premiere episodes of BEVERLY HILLS. The housewives franchise might be fading, but it is still strong, and is still the safest bet for a ratings bump on Bravo.
Tuesday nights grew nicely vs last year and especially last month. MAD FASHION and FASHION HUNTERS both closed their first seasons this month. MAD FASHION had a nice 16% lift vs. last month, but it was still delivering below the network average. FASHION HUNTERS delivered even smaller audiences, and wound up near the bottom of the ratings rankers for the month, along with Wednesday’s WORK OF ART. Tuesday’s growth was partially due to the two-part MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKERS reunion special, but mostly due to the cross-over plays (including a premiere episode) of REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA. Again, proving the best player on Bravo’s bench is HOUSEWIVES.
TOP CHEF TEXAS was in its second month this December. The program consistently wins its 10PM Wednesday night slot (according to Bravo), and ratings improved from last month. But, last year’s TOP CHEF ALL STARS topped TEXAS by 22% on women 18-49 and 10% on women 25-54.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were also dominated by REAL HOUSEWIVES repeats, with movies and some MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER sprinkled in. In total, HOUSEWIVES accounted for over half of December’s primetime programming, and a much bigger percentage of its audience.