Comedy Central Analysis

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Comedy Central finds its strength in their live-to-tape news programs THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT. These popular shows premiere just after primetime at 11 and 11:30PM, and primetime timeslot residencies are given to only a handful of lucky contenders.

Weeknights offer consistent blocks of reliable acquisitions like FUTURAMA and ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHA to deliver consistent young adult audiences. These are intermixed with original programming SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0 throughout the week.

Friday nights and weekends offer the young, mostly male audience a variety of stand-up comedy specials, movies, and more repeats of original half hour programming.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison December 2012 vs. December 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 closes the year of 2012 on a slight upswing when compared to the slew of downward trending numbers for the entire year. The network has continued on a path of annual loss all year. The month of December, however, brought ratings a little closer to normal due to some positive yearly changes. This can be attributed to some holiday movies and comedy specials, which is where the network generally sees its highest ratings.

TOSH.0 is the little show that won’t quit. The fifth season doesn’t start until February 5th, but series repeats continue to draw the biggest numbers for Comedy Central. As usual, it held at least 10 of the top 20 individual telecasts in December. Also similar to previous months, this top 20 list is rounded out by JEFF DUNHAM specials and COMEDY CENTRAL MOVIES.

This month, Comedy Central aired some TOSH.0 repeats on Monday nights, maybe in the hopes of boosting ratings that night. Mondays typically draw the smallest audiences, but this month the night saw some positive monthly and annual changes.

Tuesday nights have kept the same lineup for several months. This is a two-hour block of TOSH.0 book-ended by WORKAHOLICS at 8pm and BRICKLEBERRY at 10:30pm. However Christmas night shook things up with a full night of holiday programming. The movie Bad Santa, followed by a JEFF DUNHAM Christmas special, and finally a two-hour block of SOUTH PARK Christmas episodes, resulted in the week dropping slightly in viewers. Even though Tuesday nights drew some of the strongest ratings in December, the night showed a monthly loss.

Wednesdays and Thursdays both drew average mid-week ratings. Series repeats of original half-hour shows on Wednesdays resulted in double-digit losses both monthly and annually. Thursday nights did slightly better, and this can be due to repeats of the very popular TOSH.0 followed by a different COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST each week.

On Fridays, the primetime schedule mirrored Thursday’s, except instead of TOSH.0 leading into a different COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST each week, it lead into a stand-up special or a movie. This schedule did not draw as many viewers as the ROAST's did for Thursdays, and the night also showed ratings drops and percentage losses both monthly and annually.

The weekends definitely did better when compared to the workweek. Percentage changes were positive or very close (households and men 18-49 showed slight annual losses on Saturdays). Both weekend nights offered popular movies, series repeats, and specials. The biggest stand out was Sunday the 23rd, which aired a full night of JEFF DUNHAM specials. Thanks to the popularity Jeff Dunham has proven in the past, in conjunction with the holiday weekend, this night drew some exceptionally big ratings.

2013 will hopefully continue the upward trend Comedy Central ratings have been inching toward for the last couple months. New seasons of popular shows including TOSH.0 and WORKAHOLICS along with new original programming like KROLL SHOW can be expected.