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Comedy Central Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

Comedy Central Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central has been successful over the last year with new original programming. KEY & PEELE and BRICKLEBERRY were new additions in 2012, and their popularity predicts that viewers can expect to see future seasons of both. 2013 will continue on this path, and the Monday-Thursday primetime schedule will continue to offer a variety of original series premieres and repeats.

Original series premieres take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, typically during the 10PM hour. Popular veteran series such as SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0 will very often be used as lead-ins to the newbies.

Friday nights and weekends offer the young, mostly male audience a variety of stand-up comedy specials and movies. Occasionally repeats of original half hour programming will be slid into the weekend schedule, most often on Sunday nights.

New original programming in 2013 includes THE JESELNIK OFFENSIVE, THE BEN SHOW, and NATHAN FOR YOU, all set to premiere early in the year.

FEBRUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison February 2013 vs. February 2012 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

11%

11%

-17%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-22%

-12%

-37%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-12%

3%

-7%

Thursday 8-11pm

-6%

27%

-31%

Friday 8-11pm

-15%

-11%

-16%

Saturday 8-11pm

12%

6%

12%

Sunday 8-11pm

14%

4%

11%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-5%

2%

-13%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Hoping to hold on to the tiny upswing Comedy Central saw in January, February ended up dipping back down a tiny bit due to fewer stand up specials and movies. These tend to pull stronger ratings overall, and are more favored by the ladies than male-skewed half hour original comedy shows. With fewer of these on the schedule, women 18-49 saw monthly loss 5 nights of the week (the remaining 2 nights stayed flat with January).

The weeknight schedule held steady with Tuesdays and Wednesdays continuing as premiere nights. Mondays and Thursdays offered blocks of half hour comedies repeats. Both of these nights saw monthly and annual gain among men 18-49, but the female demo showed losses both nights. The stronger night was Thursday, which started and ended their primetime lineup with an hour of the popular acquisition IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. These bookended WORKAHOLICS and TOSH.0 encores.

The fifth season of TOSH.0 returned on the 5th with premiere episodes all month long. The three premiere episodes that ran during this survey were the top three telecasts among both men and women 18-49. THE BURN finished up its second season on the 12th and its timeslot was taken over the following week by newcomer THE JESELNIK OFFENSIVE. This new show came out of the gate running and pulled very good ratings from both men and women. Tuesdays were easily the highest rated night of the week and boasted a 25% gain among men 18-49, however, both demos showed annual loss when compared to a 2012 lineup of TOSH.0 and KEY & PEELE.

Wednesday’s matchup of WORKAHOLICS and new sketch-comedy KROLL SHOW held steady with last month and last year, showing very slight gains among men and slight losses among women. Both of these shows have been renewed for more seasons. While they may not bring as big an audience as TOSH.0, they both show program gains from last month, proving that they’re still attracting new viewers. Wednesday’s big hitter SOUTH PARK still takes up a healthy dose of the lineup, but new episodes won’t start until the Fall.

By now, Comedy Central viewers should be used to a rotating Friday night schedule of original half hour comedy encores, stand up specials, and movies. This month the network decided to keep things more consistent with mostly TOSH.0 repeats and only one movie (Hot Tub Time Machine, which was put on at the very end of a TOSH.0 block at 10:30pm). This schedule couldn’t compete with last month, which offered a full night of the very popular JEFF DUNHAM specials. Fridays showed double-digit losses across the board and was the lowest rated night of the week.

Weekends in February stayed on track with plenty of stand up specials, movies, and a couple nights with solid blocks of original programming. Saturdays kept a strong audience and the only loss was a tiny 5% monthly drop among women 18-49. Sundays also only showed one monthly loss, this time among men 18-49. Both nights saw annual gains, mostly among women. Saturday night movies including Wedding Crashers and Sunday night stand-up including two hours of KEVIN HART attracted strong female audiences and attributed to these gains.

In March, new shows THE BEN SHOW and NATHAN FOR YOU will be added to the lineup, along with new episodes of WORKAHOLICS and THE JESELNIK OFFENSIVE.

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