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. Repeat episodes of original series  have joined 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 April 2012 vs. April 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

Demo losses in April were less than  half those of March, with new episodes of SOUTH PARK  spurring Wednesday's RM18-49. Movies and Stand Up specials were also instrumental in the near-return to positive territory. The network declined slightly across the board from March.

There were only four Stand-Up specials in March; this increased to ten in April, but accounted for only two of the Top 20 individual telecasts this month.

New sketch series KEY & PEELE  continued to benefit from following new episodes of TOSH.0, and even in repeats remained the number four series for the network.

Monday's declines for HH and RM18-49 lessened from March, with 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA essentially flat with the same block from 2011. Delivery was up slightly from last month.

Tuesday's 1030pm KEY & PEELE repeats were replaced by another run of TOSH.0 for the last two weeks of the survey. The night as a whole continued to benefit from new TOSH.0 episodes at 10pm, leading to 11% demo growth over last year. Household and demo delivery was  down in the 20% range from last month.

Wednesday's modest growth over last year points to the continuing audience appeal of SOUTH PARK, which continued the premiere of its 16th season this month.   For all Prime telecasts in April, SOUTH PARK is up modestly for  HH and demos compared to April 2011. Season 2 of UGLY AMERICANS improved over last month, holding 60% of its SOUTH PARK Season 16 premieres' HH  lead-in.

Thursday losses for HH and M18-49 over the past few months continued in April despite the return of SOUTH PARK  at 10pm. Delivery for the night was flat with March 2012.

With repeats of original series and Movies mostly replacing Friday's stand-up-centric offerings, the night suffered the sharpest HH Rating declines versus last year and last month. The Movies JOE DIRT  and DUMB & DUMBER were the top offerings for Fridays in April.  Stand-Up specials from Joe Koy and Kevin Hart and the Will Ferrell films SEMI-PRO  and TALLADEGA NIGHTS  were the top offerings on the Weekend.