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Comedy Central Analysis - September 2010 - Broadcasting & Cable

Comedy Central Analysis - September 2010

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OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central is experimenting with various series and specials to replace repeats of the previous night's THE DAILY SHOW at 8pm, followed by THE COLBERT REPORT at 8:30 PM.

For the rest of the evening on most weekdays short-run series fill the last two hours, with premieres staggered throughout the year. With over 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined lately 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 John 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 young - hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.

OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison October 2010 vs.October 2009 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

30%

19%

44%

Tuesday 8-11pm

0%

6%

9%

Wednesday 8-11pm

11%

18%

33%

Thursday 8-11pm

-38%

-35%

-44%

Friday 8-11pm

0%

0%

-24%

Saturday 8-11pm

-16%

-26%

-15%

Sunday 8-11pm

-11%

-4%

-21%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-6%

-4%

-9%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Comedy Central's Prime schedule changed considerably, following the consistency of the past three months, leading to slight declines in HH and demos from last year. Ratings were essentially flat with September, though, across HH and all demos.

On Mondays in September, a mixed bag of series and specials replaced the 9-11pm off-FX series IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA in September. Comedy Central turned to its reliable standby SOUTH PARK to fill the two hour block in October. Hampered by Movie lead-ins which started in Fringe and ended at 9pm, the Monday SOUTH PARK block earned 60-70% of the HH Rtg a Tuesday block of the same series garnered in September.

Tuesdays saw an 8-10pm block of #1 series TOSH.0 slotted as lead-in to new series NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME. While the series premiere average was strong enough to earn it #4 ranking among series, the sketch comedy dropped nearly 50% in HH and M18-49 ratings from its much-hyped premiere to its third episode premiere at the end of the month.

Wednesday benefited from premiere episodes of SOUTH PARK at 10p, followed by Season 2 of the animated UGLY AMERICANS at 1030pm, replacing TOSH.0. Where Tosh.0 was the only series to actually improve SOUTH PARK's lead-in at 1030pm in network history, UGLY AMERICANS held on to approximately 60% of the lead-in HH and demo ratings in October. This was still enough for it to rank #3 among all series for Comedy Central. Earlier in the evening, a 9pm repeat of NICK SWARDSON held most of its much-played 8-9p CHAPPELLE'S SHOW lead-in. For the night as a whole demos were up modestly, with the exception of W18-49 who grew by 1/3 over last year.

Thursdays are now fully animated featuring an 830-10pm block of FUTURAMA, bracketed on either side by repeats of UGLY AMERICANS, with the ubiquitous SOUTH PARK closing out the block at 1030pm. Although the 9pm run of FUTURAMA drops a small portion of its lead-in, the two-hour block builds throughout the night, ultimately equaling or surpassing the TOSH.0 lead-in by 1030pm. While up modestly over last month, the night was down sharply from October 2009, which featured a variety of high-rated Jeff Dunham specials and the record-setting premiere of his (ultimately short-lived) series.

Friday's Stand-up-centric line-up was essentially flat with last year, except for a steep drop in younger women. Specials featuring Katt Williams and Gabriel Iglesias led the pack.

A block of Standup specials featuring network stalwart and Blue Collar alumnus Ron White on Sunday joined a Saturday block of SOUTH PARK and the premiere of SUPERHERO MOVIE as the highlights for the weekend. highlight of the weekend. Ratings were essentially flat compared with September and down somewhat from last year.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Comedy ranks among the top 10 cablers for the 18-34 demographic, and mainly with a mix of their original series, stand-up and sketch, not off-net acquisitions like most of the other cable networks.

Originals are sketch, stand-up, reality.

Comedy over the past year or so has actively been buying movie packages from many of the big studio distributors and it doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon.

Important:

COMEDY CENTRAL and Levity Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-platform output deal for a series of stand-up specials that will premiere on the channel in 2009 and 2010.  The deal includes six stand-up specials from Christopher Titus, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco, Jim Breuer, Mitch Fatel, Pete Correale that will air in 2009 and six additional stand-up specials that will shoot in 2009 to air in 2010.  At least eight of the upcoming stand-up specials will be released on DVD by COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment.   Stand-up specials continue to be incredible success on the channel, allowing for the development of comedians across all platforms.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth. Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals. Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Comedy Central knows what's funny. One of the many growing networks, they are one of the most successful for on-air, online and on-the-go mobile technology. They give their viewers access to the cutting-edge original programming, stand-up and sketch comedy, plus offbeat comedy TV series and movies. Their strategy of attracting the young male demographic continues to grow month to month whether their strategy be one off originals or stunt/holiday programming.

Comedy continues to acquire a variety of original stand-up comedy programs and specials. There are three outlets currently for talent that the network features stand-up shows: COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS, LIVE AT GOTHAM, as well as one-hour specials filmed exclusively for COMEDY CENTRAL.

Comedy, which like TBS, keeps its entire focus on comedy, has new seasons of several original series in production for 2010, including The Sarah Silverman Program, Important Things With Demetri Martin.and Tosh.0  Cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Comedy Central and The New York Comedy Festival announced a multi-year partnership deal, giving the five-day comedy showcase a national television partner for its fifth iteration.  The festival will feature a variety of top-tier comedians including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.  The multi-year national partnership will include producing an on-air special shot at the Festival which will premiere in early 2009, as well as digital media support and other content opportunities.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth.  Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals.  Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

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