Food Network has a robust inventory of recognizable titles that it effectively rotates through the schedule. The network doesn’t strip across the week, but has created stacks for most nights. Mondays and Fridays are driven by Guy Fieri’s DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES, Tuesday is competition programs for women -- CHOPPED and/or CUPCAKE WARS, Wednesday is balanced male/female reality RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE, Thursdays feature CHOPPED again, and on Sundays high production value studio based cooking competitions reign. Saturdays are filled with a different program each week.
APRIL 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison: April 2012 vs.April 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
APRIL 2012: Food Network’s good year got even better this month as bottom line ratings saw 25% growth vs. last year. The network has been slowly and steadily tweaking its line-up, and it seems to have found the winning formula for bringing in and holding viewers through each night and across the week.
Guy Fieri’s DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES remains a permanent fixture on Food Network. Starting and ending the weekday line-up, the program dominates Mondays and Fridays, bringing an even balance of men and women to the network. Its average rating is just slightly below the primetime average, but with 60 telecasts this April, it gets the most airplay, if not the most viewers. Last year the program received just 16 primetime plays. And so, year over year average program ratings are down by about 10%, but Monday night and Friday night total ratings are up, as DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES replaced lower rated programs.
CHOPPED sets the pace on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, giving both nights a stronger female skew (65%) and a younger audience than any other night of the week. With their strong female following, CUPCAKE WARS on Tuesdays and SWEET GENIUS on Thursdays are proving to be strong companions for CHOPPED. Again, scheduling is helping to drive ratings. While core women 25-54 numbers for CHOPPED are slightly down vs. last year (-5%), Tuesday nights enjoyed 29% growth while Thursday grew by 68%.
Wednesday is now all about restaurant make-overs with RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE and RESTAURANT STAKEOUT. Wednesday shows a marked 35% improvement with adults 25-54 since last year when BOBBY FLAY and LAST CAKE STANDING brought in lower numbers.
Food Network continues to mix it up on Saturday nights, as an ever-rotating line-up comes and goes. This month the net served up three hour stacks of RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE, DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES and CHOPPED. CHOPPED was the clear ratings leader among the bunch this month; usually DINERS tops the list. A special presentation called HUNGER HITS HOME aired on Saturday 4/14 at 8PM with low numbers. As with FAT CHEF, Food Network is seeing that programming with a social message doesn’t always bring big audiences.
However, that is not a problem on Sundays as the network’s high-profile competition programming tops the rating charts. CHOPPED ALL-STARS leads the way, with CUPCAKE WARS and IRON CHEF AMERICA playing strong lead-in / lead-out roles. Together the three programs helped boost Sunday by 35% vs. last year.