JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
Food network has a ton of recognizable titles and rotates them through their schedule from month to month effectively. They use quite a lot of half hours. This network, more than most nonfiction channels these days, has a predictable Sunday night. On Sundays, high production value studio based cooking competitions reign. Food Network doesn't strip and Sunday night is the only reliable true stack. Other nights seldom run more than two episodes of a title, but will often match those two with a couple of similarly-spirited programs, creating a sort of affinity stack. At this shop, should anything less than three hours be called a short stack?
JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2010 vs. July 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FOOD NETWORK seems to have plateaued from the fantastic run of growth they were on. Success breeds copycats and competition-which there are plenty of currently in the cable world.
The good news is that only two nights showed declines (and one was flat) from last year. Fridays showed the strongest gains in Primetime this July, driven primarily by the encore appearance of their homegrown star Guy Fieri (DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES).
KID IN A CANDY STORE had a strong debut mid-month and provided a nice lead-in for the strong Monday night lineup. CUPCAKE WARS also had a strong start (sandwiched between ACE OF CAKES and CHOPPED) and improved every week over it's lead-in. Apparently sweet , bite-sized confections are a very hot item for viewers this summer (there are at least three networks with Cupcake series). 24 HOUR RESTAURANT BATTLE had a nice start in the final week of July, rounding out a strong trio of series premieres this month.
ACE OF CAKES has lost some of its lift from previous year's and isn't popping the big numbers that it used to. This decline is the likely culprit in Thursday night declines from 2009. Sunday nights also declined even though THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR is in premieres, it's competing with strong numbers from last year and hasn't held up as well in it's sixth season.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
This network, one of the most clever in the cable universe for many years, needs you. The snazzy, studio-based Super-Bowl-like cooking competitions are still solid, but DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES, a field-produced roadshow dominates at the moment. A competitor, TLC, has dipped its toe into these potentially lucrative waters with a new series about BBQ competitions, thus blending two proven concepts. Here, as much as at any network, personality rules. Guy Fieri (a competition winner himself) is what makes DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES work. Imagining that show without him is like thinking DIRTY JOBS on Discovery would work without Mike Rowe. So... look for a new twist for these folks, whether in the field or back in the studio. They're surely looking for both. But don't even think about it if you don't have some good, promotable on-camera talent in mind.