Perhaps more than any other 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.
Bravo defines and schedules its programming around themes of food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture, and plans to add digital themed program in the upcoming season.
AUGUST 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison August 2012 vs. August 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
August 2012: Despite a flurry of program renewal announcements, including a fifth season of THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT, a MOST ELIGIBLE DALLAS spin-off, a renewal for IT’S A BRAD, BRAD WORLD, plus the announcement of new program COURTNEY LOVES DALLAS, Bravo is having trouble getting some wind under its sails. On the August roster only the two HOUSEWIVES series currently in rotation (NYC and NJ) and TOP CHEF MASTERS were able to pop the numbers. MILLION DOLLAR LISTING LA had some respectable turns, but its ratings were diluted with a slew of encore telecasts. At the end of the month the bottom-line primetime women 18-49 ratings were down by 13% vs. last year and 11% vs. last month. If ever a network was in need of a hot new franchise, it is Bravo.
While it’s easy to mock the Housewives and Bravo’s reliance on them, there is no doubt they are a venerable force. They comprise more than one-fourth of the schedule and sit comfortably at the top of the rankers. They are able to generate big audiences AND they do well in repeats. There is really no other franchise on Bravo that can make that claim. Compared to last month the NYC ladies increased core women 18-49 audience by 25%. NJ grew by 2%, vs. last month but lost 13% vs. last year. Not bad considering this was an Olympics month.
TOP CHEF MASTERS comes next in the rankers, as its five telecasts performed well above the primetime average and helped pull up Wednesday nights. The spin-off culinary competition picked up steam at the end of the month when Olympics were over. Unlike the HOUSEWIVES, TOP CHEF MASTERS does not receive a round (or two or three) of encores.
While TOP CHEF MASTERS received just one primetime encore telecast, Bravo’s schedulers went to the other extreme with MILLION DOLLAR LISTING LA. The program aired in primetime a total of 18 times, appearing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Premiere night is Wednesday at 9PM, and the premieres were strong, all ranking in the top 20 telecasts reports. The finale on August 15th ranked sixth on households and eighth on women 18-49. But all the encores hurt the total program average, pulling it well below the primetime average.
Other efforts were less successful. The lovelorn genre was not a good match between Bravo and its viewers. MISS ADVISED dropped 10% vs. last month, while LOVE BROKER dropped by 55%. MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER gained traction but still sits at the bottom of the ratings ranker. GALLERY GIRLS premiered this month with a lot of publicity and sub-par ratings. It did gain about 10% on women 18-49 ratings in its second outing, Time will tell if the audience will stick.