Comedy Central Analysis

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Comedy Central is adept at mixing original series with acquisitions such as ITS 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 January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% 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 January delivery was down slightly more than last month's in HH and key demos from December and last year - their fourth straight month of declines when compared to the previous month.  Specials, which  have helped drive ratings the past four months, did not have the same impact in January, and a key series might be showing its age.  Only one new series, RUSSELL SIMMONS PRESENT THE RUCKUS, launched at the end of the survey.

Mondays were down slightly in HH but  up 10% in RM18-49 with 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA compared to the same block from  2011. Delivery was up a similar percentage for M18-49 from last month.

TOSH.0 now runs 9-11pm on Tuesdays with a fourth episode replacing former 1030pm offering WORKAHOLICS. With no premieres until after the survey concluded, demo delivery was down sharply from last year, when the TOSH.0 block was driven by new episodes at 10pm. Numbers are essentially flat with last month. The 9-11pm TOSH.0 block  grows from beginning to end.

Wednesday's modest losses versus the same lineup last year is more of an apples-to-apples comparison: neither January 2011 or 2012 featured new SOUTH PARK offerings. Overall, SOUTH PARK lost nearly 20% of its HH and younger men delivery compared to last year.  HH and demos were down modestly from December.

December's steep Thursday losses softened by January, which marks the one-year aniversary of the  current expanded FUTURAMA block from 8-10pm. Overall, the animated series is flat with last year's delivery. On the last night of the survey, new Stand-Up series RUSSELL SIMMONS PRESENT THE RUCKUS, premiered  at 10pm, with a second episode growing sharply at 1030pm. Female demos were  up modestly compared to December.

With the 8-9pm TOSH.0 block the strongest component of Friday's stand-up-centric offering, numbers were up slightly from 2011, but down sharply from last month's Jeff Dunham - driven results. KEVIN HART: LAUGH AT PAIN was the top weekend Stand-Up special, with three telecasts during the survey.Other weekend fare which drew significant viewership were a Sunday block of TOSH.0 and the Movie JACK-ASS 3.5