Discovery Analysis



New series and returning favorites anchored the May 2012 primetime schedule for Discovery.  Monday nights featured AMERICAN CHOPPER, paired with newcomer OUTLAW EMPIRE.  DEADLIEST CATCH anchored Tuesday, with new series DEVILS RIDE.  AMERICAN GUNS and AUCTION KINGS were on the schedule for Wednesday, while MYTHBUSTERS continues on Thursdays and Sundays.  Fridays and Saturdays saw a rotation of programming in May.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2012 vs. May 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

May was a tough month for Discovery.  Seeing drops in year-to-year ratings nearly across the board this month, many of Discovery's returning shows are showing clear signs of age.  With a tremendous amount of pressure in the cable landscape for networks to always have new, fresh, programming, is Discovery taking too much of a risk with renewing old favorites?

Monday nights started the Discovery week off solidly, with AMERICAN CHOPPER episodes leading in to newcomer OUTLAW EMPIRE.  While AMERICAN CHOPPER has no problem pulling in viewers, OUTLAW EMPIRES barely hit average.  Numbers did improve for the series from week to week, so perhaps next month will mean a better delivery for the new series.  Interestingly, AMERICAN CHOPPER scores fairly well among the female demos, and Monday night was one of the strongest among female viewers for the month.

Back-to-back episodes of DEADLIEST CATCH, followed by newcomer DEVILS RIDE anchored the Tuesday night lineup for Discovery.  DEADLIEST CATCH continues to bring in numbers well above average, making the night, by far, the strongest of the week in overall viewers in May.  Outlaws continue to work for Discovery, and DEVILS RIDE scored above-average numbers throughout the month.

Wednesday nights is guns and auctions, with SONS OF GUNS, AMERICAN GUNS, and AUCTION KINGS all hitting the lineup.  AMERICAN GUNS has the strongest overall delivery.  Still, the night took one of the strongest year-to-year hits compared to May 2011.  SONS OF GUNS is down 23% compared to year-ago numbers.

Returning Discovery favorite MYTHBUSTERS anchors the Thursday night schedule.  The night is down in overall viewers 16% compared to year ago and the show failed to hit average anytime during the month.  It's down 23% compared to last year.

Fridays and Saturdays in May featured a variety of programming and both nights saw losses compared to last year, 8% and 30% among overall viewers, respectively.  Interestingly airings of ALASKA: ICE COLD KILLERS one of sister network's Investigation Discovery programs, saw ab0ve-average numbers.

More MYTHBUSTERS was on the schedule for Sunday nights, and new episodes performed very well with above-average numbers.  The night saw moderate gains among younger demographics too.  UNCHAINED REACTION, which was the lead-out series last month, was off the schedule in May.