JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
This is a female-leaning network, but plenty of men show up, too. 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. With the possible exception of the off-network drama LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, 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. The schedule balances original series with Hollywood movies and off-network drama. Hourlong programs dominate.
JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2010 vs. January 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Given the very successful year Bravo just finished, 2010 opened quietly. HH's were down 4%, with men in both age brackets down around 10% and women in each category down 5%. Year-to-year HH's were up 7%, with younger and older men both down around 5%, younger women up about 5% and older women flat.
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY continues to deliver big numbers. It's most successful premier episode nearly tripled the network's HH average. Nearly four times as many women as men tune in for the ups and downs of life in a few well-heeled California Zip Codes --,seen through the eyes of a handful of women whom viewers clearly enjoy. Even repeats deliver plenty of above average hours.
Here's a fun note: For all that exciting, original-production franchise news delivered by REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY, it wasn't the number one series in households in January. Loyal followers might guess: LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT was tops, with nearly 20% more Households. But here's the deeper cut: While younger men view the two series in nearly equal numbers, nearly twice as many younger women - a treasured demo for this network - watch HOUSEWIVES.
Half way through the month, the first two premiers of MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER's Season Three delivered about 60% above HH average, with slightly more than twice as many women as men viewing in each age group. These are very good numbers, but they're not in REAL HOUSEWIVES or LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT territory. Bravo is surely very eager to see what kind of stride this dependable franchise hits a month from now, when six weeks of new episodes offer a chance to look for trends.
New episodes of another off-network medical drama, HOUSE, offer some interesting numbers for diagnosis. It delivered slightly above network average numbers on three Saturday nights, and posted much better numbers compared to Saturdays in December. But average viewer age went up 6%. That's nothing to lose sleep over, but it's certainly something to watch at a network that cares very much about audience youth and affluence.
TABATHA'S SALON TAKEOVER performed right at network household average, with nine outings. Roughly twice as many women as men watched, in both age groups.
Because it's always fun cocktail-party fodder, here's how Bravo's top twenty telecasts in January broke down. Numbers in parentheses indicated the number of episodes on the list: REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY (6), LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (7), MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER (2), TABATHA'S SALON TAKEOVER (3), and HOUSE (2).
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Bravo is as good as any network at banging on all cylinders. Watching this network, you get the a real sense of place, of Bravo being a destination for a viewer who thinks of herself as saavy and hip. But Bravo might be this year's TLC - where last year TLC's schedule was thrown into disarray through both the wild success (and overuse) JON & KATE PLUS 8, Bravo is presently drawing very heavily form the HOUSEWIVES OF franchise. Orange County, Atlanta, New Jersey now... Washington, DC on the way. When you think about Bravo, think about what will draw the same kind of viewer who tunes in for HOUSEWIVES OF. It's going to be in the schedule for the foreseeable future, so they'll need programs to compliment it. And, think about the next new franchise for them, because this one's in an extremely heavy rotation. It may last, or it may reach critical mass and slid this year. No way to know, but help the good folks at Bravo prepare, either way.