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. original series repeats are joining Friday night's traditional 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 February 2012 vs. February 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 February delivery was down slightly more than last month's for younger Women demos from last year.  After  four  straight months of declines when compared to the previous month, RM18-49 was up modestlyversus January, though HH and younger women remained down slightly.

New sketch series KEY & PEELE  benefited from following new episodes of TOSH.0, and its four premiere telecasts joined those of its lead-in among the Top 10 individual telecasts of the month for Comedy Central. Overall, it was the number three series for the network.

Mondays were down slightly in HH and RM18-49, but  lost nearly 1/3 of  RW18-49 with 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA compared to the same block from  2011. Delivery was essentially flat with last month.

KEY & PEELE premiered on Tuesday at 1030, following a two hour block of TOSH.0. The new series consistently held 75% of  10pm TOSH.0 premiere lead-in, similar to WORKAHOLICS, which benefited from a similar launch strategy. Household and demo delivery was  essentially flat with last year, when the since-cancelled ONION SPORTSDOME followed the TOSH.0 block. Due to the premiere episodes for both series, delivery is up 25-30% for HH and key demos from last month.

Wednesday's modest annual losses for younger women demos were countered by modest growth over last month. Perennial 8-9pm series CHAPPELLE'S SHOW moved to Thursday, swapping time periods with FUTURAMA. FUTURAMA  immediately boosted the 8-9pm time period to 15-20% over last month. versus the same lineup last year.  Overall, SOUTH PARK is down slightly for  HH and younger men delivery compared to last year.

Thursday losses over the past few months continued in February, as 2012's mix of series repeats and Stand-Up specials dropped in the 20% range from last year's FUTURAMA/ SOUTH PARK block. Delivery was flat with January.

With the  TOSH.0 repeats the strongest component of Friday's stand-up-centric offering, numbers were essentially flat with 2011 and last month, with the exception of W18-49, who were down by modest double-digits for both comparisons. With no significant Movie or Stand-Up premieres, the only Weekend program of note was the BERNIE MAC  TRIBUTE  special, which scored 80% above the Prime HH average for February.