Even with the cluttered programming on cable on Sunday nights, E! is not afraid to air one of their best originals like KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS or ICE LOVES COCO. Most of their schedule varies night by night, week to week. It is rather looked upon as if you are watching the brand, and not appointment viewing.
In the past, E! has relied upon a successful, highly profitable take on the old broadcast network formula -- find and create accessible stars and watch the viewers pour in, but for fractions of the cost of a single episode of a network drama.
While this formula remains a fundamental aspect of the network, E! will be expanding their wheelhouse in 2013 to include scripted series aimed at elevating the brand perception of the network.
DECEMBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2012 vs. December 2011 (% Change)
Yearly % change
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
In 2012, E! did not make any radical programming changes: pop-culture oriented reality shows were still the network’s lifeblood. Looking back more recently, December was a mediocre month for the network.E! was down from last year but did manage to improve from November’s lackluster ratings.
The network really didn’t have any of its heavy hitters on deck and ICE LOVES COCO has been in a rut. With KEEPING UP WITH KARDASHIANS (and its spinoffs) on hiatus, COCO was expected to pick up the slack. Based on its impressive numbers from last year, the idea that COCO could carry the ratings torch did not seem farfetched.
Unfortunately, viewership for the show’s third season has fallen dramatically. Worse, the ratings have been consistently trending downward on a weekly basis. It’s possible that the lack of a strong lead in has contributed to COCO’S freefall in popularity. Sundays, which feature COCO, were down 72% among women 18 – 49. This is a striking drop compared to last year, which aired KOURTNEY & KIM TAKE NEW YORK.
Since COCO has not performed as expected, typically second tier shows have risen to the forefront. Once again, FASHION POLICE was the most watched program of the month – an unfamiliar station for the show until a month ago. Some of this viewer interest was due to a special looking back at the fashion of 2012. The year end round up special was the most popular fashion episode and the second most popular telecast overall.
Despite the show’s success within the context of the month, it should be emphasized that FASHION’S rise to the top is due to a lack of programming strength and not due to its own strong performance. For example, FASHION was down 50% from last year and 13% from last month with women 18 – 49.
Reruns for shows such as KOURNTEY & KIM TAKE NEW YORK and KOURTNEY & KHLOE TAKE MIAMI also rose to the top due underperforming premiere episodes of other shows.
THE SOUP, like FASHION, was another show that appeared to do better than it actually did. Despite having two telecasts in E!’s top ten, the program was down significantly: 13% (monthly) and 33% (yearly) among women 18 – 49.
LOVE YOU MEAN IT WITH WHITNEY CUMMINGS premiered in late November with modest viewership. The shows ratings failed to improve in December and not a single WHITNEY episode cracked E!’s top twenty. E! has not had the greatest luck with talk shows and it doesn’t seem WHITNEY is the show to change this.
In 2013, expect to see E! to expand their schedule to include a handful of new scripted dramas. The network has announced that they are keen on elevating their brand image.