Comedy Central Analysis

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Comedy Central is adept at mixing original series with acquisitions such as IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and SCRUBS to deliver consistent young adult audiences. Their strategy of using established lead-ins such as SOUTH PARK to introduce new hits such as TOSH.0 has paid off: top-rated TOSH.0 is now being used in a similar fashion to introduce new series. The latest debut to benefit from a TOSH.0 lead-in, WORKAHOLICS, was renewed for a second season after only four episodes.

With over 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined by FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 in that role. Friday nights are devoted to stand-up specials, with movies and more stand-up  dominating the rest of the weekend.

Comedy Central's schedule stands out in nonfiction cable (excluding news/sports networks) because two of its highest-profile franchises, THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and THE COLBERT REPORT, are weekday live-to-tape productions. Comedy Central's programs are arranged on a grid rare for its dependably predictable pattern -- day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, even year-to-year. These folks surely have some of the strongest appointment viewing numbers in the business. Their audience is also unusually, enviably younger, hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison December 2011 vs. December 2010 (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Comedy Central's December delivery was down slightly in HH and key demos from November and last year - their third straight month of declines when compared to the previous month.  Just completed second seasons of NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME  and WORKAHOLICS were replaced at 10:30pm with episodes of  TOSH.0 and SOUTH PARK, respectively. While Jeff Dunham's series failed to generate sustained viewership, his specials were the top programs for the fourth month in a row. No new series launched in December.

Mondays were down in HH and M and W18-49 with this year's 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA compared to the SOUTH PARK block from  2010. Delivery was up slightly for W18-49 from last month.

TOSH.0 now runs 9-11pm on Tuesdays with a fourth episode replacing former 10:30pm offering WORKAHOLICS. Delivery is down modestly from last year, when TOSH.0 filled the full three hours on Tuesday. Numbers are down significantly from last month, due to the lack of fresh episodes in December. The 9-11pm TOSH.0 block  grows from beginning to end.

Wednesday was up modestly versus last year after two months of similar declines. As with TOSH.0 on Tuesday, the block  grows steadily throughout the night. Male demos were down modestly from November, which was fueled by new episodes for part of the survey.

Steep losses on  Thursday, especially for RW18-49, resulted from last year's Jeff Dunham specials being replaced by the expanded FUTURAMA block from 8-10pm. Two venerable Ron White Stand-Up specials proved the continuing strength of the Blue Collar alumni. HH and key demos were also down significantly compared to November.

Strong Friday growth for RW18-49 was spurred by a block of specials from Jeff Dunham which nearly tripled the month's average prime delivery for the demo. Other weekend fare, which drew significant viewership, was a Saturday block of TOSH.0, new stand-up from Carlos Mencia and the movie THE 40-YEAROLD VIRGIN.