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.
At the 2013 Real Screen Summit, Shari Levine, SVP of current productions, revealed the recipe for success for HOUSEWIVES; five to six over-the-top, unapologetic women, with fabulous homes, families and a cute pet. She also addressed the version set in DC, which only lasted one season. “Although it was an interesting first season, there was a sense of no place to go. Their numbers were pretty good, but it wasn’t a buzzy show.”
Bravo defines and schedules its programming around themes of food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture.
FEBRUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison February 2013 vs. February 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FEBRUARY 2013: Another busy month for Bravo as the network continues to ramp up its programming. Building on its REAL HOUSEWIVES foundation, Bravo featured spin-off VANDERPUMP RULES, and also programs without housewives, SHAHS OF SUNSET, TOP CHEF, MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER and KATHY. Still, the cable field is increasingly competitive as more and more networks recognize bulk up their original fare. Despite a healthy handful of successes this month, Bravo’s average primetime women 18-49 ratings took a slight 5% loss vs. last month and a harder hit of -19% vs. last year.
Sunday is typically Bravo’s big night and is home to its highest rated series. REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA rule the night, but they suffered this month. Bravo chose not to compete against the Super Bowl on the third, and instead ran a movie and a RHoA repeat. On the last week of the month a repeat marathon was in play. Both nights severely underperformed. The two remaining Sundays ran new episodes, which delivered the top telecast ratings for the month, but were still below last month’s premiere episode ratings. SHAHS OF SUNSET was the Sunday night companion of the Atlanta ladies, and they went down the same path. Ratings for the two new episodes were among the top rated telecasts of the month, but faded from January’s levels with the lesser lead in. In fact, February brought the lowest numbers for the SHAHS season to date. Still, ratings are up nicely from last year, and we are sure to see a third season from the Persian prince and princesses.
With the two off-weeks, Sunday night’s numbers plummeted by 50% from last month, but managed to hold vs. last year. Monday nights took up the slack growing an impressive 40% from both last year and last month and leapfrogging over Sunday nights to take the number one position on the line-up.
Mondays were all about REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS and VANDERPUMP RULES. The pair of programs worked well together with RHoBH pulling 70% better ratings than last year, and VANDERPUMP holding 75% of that increased lead-in audience. VANDERPUMP has been fading since its January debut, but Lisa’s former costars of BEVERLY HILLS might be giving her a strong enough lifeline for a renewal.
The highlight of Tuesday nights was MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER, in its sixth season. The show was missing from the line-up in 2012, and its premiere last month was one of the best rated telecasts ever. But premiere night moved from the Thursday night slot last month where it was paired with the poorly performing KATHY! to Tuesdays this month, where it has not been doing as well. Overall, the program is not doing quite as well as it was in season five either.
Wednesdays were all about food as TOP CHEF’s season 10 started the last leg of the competition. The program has been struggling to keep pace this year, but turned a corner in January and this month ratings are just 4% below last year’s numbers. TOP CHEF is one of the few shows on Bravo to bring men to the table, and it brings a lot of prestige to Bravo. However, efforts to expand the food genre have not met with a lot of success. Next month the night turns to fashion.
Thursdays saw the demise of KATHY!. The second season premiered last month to poor numbers, which continued to fade in February. The network announced the show’s move out of primetime and into latenight as of February 28.
Fridays and Saturdays are still filled with ill-fitting movies. Only How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days resonated with target women 18-49. More typical titles such as American Pie and Bad Boys II have a young male appeal.
Bravo has a lengthy list of premieres ready to rotate into the line-up. Here’s a quick list of upcoming premieres:
LA SHRINKS, season 1
RACHEL ZOE PROJECT, season 5
IT’S A BRAD, BRAD WORLD, season 2
THE DUKES OF MELROSE, season 1
MARRIED TO MEDICINE, season 1
TABATHA TAKES OVER , season 5
DON’T BE TARDY, season 2
THE KANDI FACTORY, season 1
As a point of interest, the launch of KANDI FACTORY in March will mark the fifth HOUSEWIVES spin-offs, following in the footsteps of DATE MY EX, BETHENNY EVER AFTER, DON’T BE TARDY and VANDERPUMP RULES.