Food Network Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 23, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

P 25-54, F 25-54, F 18-49

AUGUST 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES, ACE OF CAKES, UNWRAPPED, THROWDOWN W/ BOBBY FLAY, FOOD DETECTIVEES, IRON CHEF AMERICA, HOW'D THAT GET ON MY PLATE, GOOD EATS, FOOD NETWORK SPECIALS, FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Food Network has an overall consistent schedule; the audience can be confident in the fact that the top shows for the most part will not be moved from their usual time slots.  The exceptions are marathon weeks where either one original show is aired repeatedly across the week, and theme weeks where special episodes of original series around one theme (Christmas, summer grilling, etc.).  Here are the consistencies in Food Network's schedule: GOOD EATS is stripped at 8pm Monday thru Thursday.  Monday is home to documentary series HOW'D THAT GET ON MY PLATE and UNWRAPPED.  Alto Brown's GOOD EATS gets an hour on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Guy Fieri owns the Monday 10pm hour with his DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.  ACE OF CAKES occupies the same spot on Thursday nights, and in both cases, it's a repeat episode followed by a premiere.  Saturdays are for the often-seasonal FOOD NETWORK SPECIALS, and Sunday is all about competitions: FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE, IRON CHEF AMERICA, and THROWDOWN WITH BOBBY FLAY. 

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JULY - AUGUST 2008:

-HOW'D THAT GET ON MY PLATE moves to Mondays at 8:30pm, and UNWRAPPED takes over at 9:30pm.
-THROWDOWN WITH BOBBY FLAY replaces FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE on Wednesdays at 9pm and 9:30pm.
-FOOD DETECTIVES repeats on Thursdays at 8:30pm, followed by IRON CHEF AMERICA at 9pm.
-FOOD NETWORK SPECIALS air Fridays at 8pm.  ROAD TASTED WITH THE NEELYS and RACHAEL RAY TASTY TRAVELS come in at the 10pm hour.
-THROWDOWN WITH BOBBY FLAY takes over the Sunday 10pm hour.

PREMIERES:

**FOOD DETECTIVES - Tuesday July 29, 9:00pm

SEPTEMBER AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

**FEASTING ON WAVES - Sept. 27, 2008, at 10pm.

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Food Network continues to grow its 18-49 set, with a high concentration in females.  Changes in the August schedule seem to shake things up for the better, including a re-jigging of the Friday night line-up that had previously been getting weaker over time.  The female demo losses caused by Paula Deen and Rachael Ray seem to have been abated - for now.

AUGUST 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Considering how hot Food Network usually is in summer, month-to-month performance is pretty dismal this period.  Audiences are down by an average of 1/4 across all demos.  The only night with positive returns is Friday, likely due to some major schedule changes.

On Mondays, new series HOW'D THAT GET ON MY PLATE slips in all demos versus its July premiere's performance.  Same goes for UNWRAPPED after the addition of a second episode on Mondays.  Overall, Monday night's only success story is DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.  Despite these additions, more line-up changes may be in order.

On Thursdays, IRON CHEF is taking some serious demo hits, despite taking over for NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR 4 and usually a staple of the Thursday line-up.  Sunday night's IRON CHEF runs aren't much better.  Even ACE OF CAKES, usually gaining on itsel month to month, takes a hit in August.

On the upside, Bobby Flay reaps the benefits of taking over FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE's spot on Wednesday nights as demos get a nice bump up over the previous month.  Unfortunately for Bobby's lead-out DINNER IMPOSSIBLE, however, all demos are down, and the timing for Iron Chef Michael Symon taking over as lead talent could be coming at an ideal time.

FOOD DETECTIVES is showing signs of strength as it comes into the 6th highest rated primetime series in this period.  With a truly unique format for the network (think Mythbusters applied to food), and strong talent (Ted Allen), this could be just what the.. er, scientist ordered by way of fresh programming.

The most positive news - and an all-around coup for the network - is that Friday nights are looking stronger than ever.  PAULA'S PARTY is off the schedule in August, replaced by FOOD NETWORK SPECIALS and with the new ROAD TASTED WITH THE NEELYS pushing RACHAEL RAY TASTY TRAVELS to the 10:30pm slot.  These changes, combined with the ever-growing DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES, has brought an audience back to Food Network on Fridays. 

Overall, with summer coming to an end and more viewers staying home on weeknights, it's likely that Food Network's negatives this period will turn into positives once we look at September's returns.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

BOY MEETS GRILL, BOY MEETS GRILL, BBQ WITH BOBBY FLAY, RESTAURANT MAKEOVER, THE HUNGRY DETECTIVE, HAM ON THE STREET, HOW TO BOIL WATER, MOLTO MARIO, ROKER ON THE ROAD, RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, GUY'S BIG BITE, QUICK FIX MEALS WITH ROBIN MILLER, PAULA'S HOME COOKING, PARTY LINE WITH THE HEARTY BOYS, ALL AMERICAN FESTIVALS, KITCHEN ACCOMPLISHED, EVERYDAY ITALIAN, 30 MINUTE MEALS, THE ESSENCE OF EMERIL, EASY ENTERTAINING WITH MICHAEL CHIARELLO, SEMI-HOMEMADE WITH SANDRA LEE, INSIDE DISH, FOOD FINDS, SUGAR RUSH, SARA'S SECRETS, BEHIND THE BASH

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