Comedy Central Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009 - Broadcasting & Cable

Comedy Central Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of July 7, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

KROD MANDOON AND THE FLAMING SWORD OF FIRE (COMEDY)
A new workplace comedy set in the Middle Ages.
Status: Premiere Date: April 9th, 2009.  Six episode commitment.

MICHAEL AND MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES (COMEDY)
Best friends Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter are hosts of their own fictitious comedy sketch show.
Status: Premiere Date: July 15th at 10:30pm. Seven episode committment.

TOSH 2.0 (COMEDY)
A weekly series with host/comedian Daniel Tosh.  The mission of TOSH 2.0 is to change the way people think about the internet, with a closer look at blogs, vlogs, tweets and pokes.
Status: Premiere Date: June 4th at 10pm.  Ten episode commitment, airing weekly.

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The scheduling pattern that generally holds over time: Monday through Friday it's The Daily Show at 8pm, The Colbert Report at 8:30 PM. For the rest of the evening on weekdays things change a bit, as standard non-live production orders typically involve fewer episodes over a given year that Stewart and Colbert deliver, live. In May, the nine o'clock hour was animated, with Futurama (from Simpsons Creator Matt Groening) and South Park, back-to-back. Ten o'clock was less predictable, with a mix of stand-up, the older but still strong Reno 911! and the two month-old Krod Mandroon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire (a U.S.-U.K. co-pro that has yet to, er, catch fire, on this side of the pond).

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 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.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

**July 2009 - MICHAEL AND MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES 
**August 9 - COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF JOAN RIVERS
**Fall 2009 - NICK SWARDSON

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

May 2009 vs May 2008              

Yearly % change*       H'hold        M18-49    F18-49

Monday 8-11pm              2%           -6%              0%

Tuesday 8-11pm            -7%           -17%           -8%

Wednesday 8-11pm      -10%         -24%             3%

Thursday 8-11pm          -18%          -30%           -13%

Friday 8-11pm               -10%           -24%          -19%

Saturday 8-11pm          -21%           -16%          -23%

Sunday 8-11pm               4%            17%            4%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm        -9%            -15%           -9%

*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Probably, it's a result of success. The snarkily fun, attitude-infused, cuss-wordy little engine that could has become pretty big and, perhaps inevitably... mainstream. Depending on when you tune in, it can look downright establishment. The two big, nightly faces - Stewart and Colbert - are middle-aged guys in ties who interview authors and politicians. They've each done something ingenious, taking topical comedy and satire to new places -- places where bleeped F-bombs frequently delight. But, still... those neckties, those big-thinking guests. Does it matter, as long as it's still funny? Maybe. The audience, coveted for its relative youth, might be aging. In May, Comedy Central's audience, though still way younger than those watching most networks, was 11% older than a year ago. As context, the very young-skewing MTV, in the same comparison, was also older, by 9% . But Spike, a very serious Comedy Central competitor for youngish men -- was 17% younger in the same period. These comparisons, for those of you with pencil protectors in your shirt pockets, are of networks' viewers' mean ages.

Thursday nights were way off from a month ago - by 18% overall and 30% in crucial younger men. In its Thursday perch Krod declined steadily three weeks in a row and then disappeared. Comedy Central did well in May with standups. Dane Cook, with a recent performance and Jeff Dunham with a two-plus year-old show, delivered the top two telecasts of the month, respectively.

The anchor series on this network - The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, South Park, Reno 911, Futurama - have all been around for a while. Network executives and producers alike are surely eying Comedy Central's next new thing.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

Zack and Miri Make A Porno (Comedy Central has inked a multipicture deal with the Weinstein Co. for the first-window broadcast premiere rights to a trio of films, including first-window rights to "Extreme Movie," "The Hammer" and second-window rights to "Soul Men" and "Who's Your Caddy?")

Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay. (Comedy paid $4 million for the exclusive network window, which will be available in October 2010. The agreement also includes runs of Be Kind Rewind which was purchased on the back end of the network window for less than $1 million)

Superhero Movie ($2.7 million for the cable rights in September 2010.  The four year deal also includes pre-buys of two other unreleased titles, Fanboys (Dec 2010) and The Promotion (March 2011). Terms of the agreement allow The Weinstein Company to sell runs of the movies to another cable network during a specific window, in addition to selling the films to PayTV outlets prior to becoming available to Comedy Central)

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

LEWIS BLACK: THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (season #2)

RENO 911! (season #6, 10 additional episodes ordered)

IMPORTANT THINGS WITH DEMETRI MARTIN (second pick-up)

THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM (season #3, 10 episodes, premiering 1st quarter 2010)

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

CHOCOLATE NEWS

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