HGTV Analysis

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A lot of change has come to HGTV this year, and more change is on the way.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, and after being floated around the schedule they are now tethered to 10 and 10:30 from Monday through Saturday. Each night of the week offers a different mix of programming from 8 to 10. Mondays were promoted as a signature night last year, but this year Tuesday will host the penultimate signature series, HGTV DESIGN STAR, with spin-offs set to follow in the timeslot. Wednesdays are host to “The Guys of Wednesday Night,” featuring KITCHEN COUSINS, PROPERTY BROTHERS and INCOME PROPERTY, and a new program SCORING THE DEAL slated to launch in late 2012 or early 2013. Thursdays feature power real estate brokers of SELLING NY and LA, with LONDON coming in the summer. Fridays were HHI stacks, but are now a rotating mix of specials and encores. Design Time Saturday remains a bastion for design programming and Sunday nights feature Mike Holmes’ programming, which attracts a 50/50 male/female audience.

Half hour programs are still paired to create one-hour blocks, but hour-long shows are becoming more common on the line-up, particularly in the 8:00 hour.


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 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

APRIL 2012: HGTV has made plenty of changes to its line-up since last year, but bottom-line ratings are essentially the same. Each step forward was matched with a step back, and at the end of the month core women 25-54 ratings were down by 2% vs. last year. Men still hold a minority share of HGTV’s audience, accounting for 35% of the primetime adult 25-54 ratings, but they also hold momentum, growing by 7% vs. 2011.

Typically, HGTV is driven by HOUSE HUNTERS and its spin-off HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. They are hands-down the best-rated programs on the network, with only the occasional special or rogue telecast able to best them. If those programs are up, HGTV is up…and vice versa. But this month the two signature programs grew core women ratings by 12% over last year, while HGTV’s bottom line was basically flat. They were the only returning programs to grow vs. last year, but their growth wasn’t enough to overcome the losses. Which backs up our opening premise…a step ahead followed by a step back.

Monday and Wednesday saw the most growth vs. last year. On Mondays LOVE IT OR LIST IT has replaced PROPERTY VIRGINS, with much improved ratings. While the new program has lost steam since its debut earlier this year, it is still a strong lead-in to HOUSE HUNTERS.

HGTV has officially embraced its masculine side on Wednesdays, officially dubbing the line-up ‘The Guys of Wednesday Night.” KITCHEN COUSINS and PROPERTY BROTHERS feature the guys, but HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL bring it home, pulling in the best ratings of the night for both men and women. The night pulls 33% men vs. 67% women, which is a smaller ratio of men than the primetime average. Maybe it’s not clear if the guys are supposed to tune in or if the women are supposed to tune in to check out the guys. Either way, the night is working for HGTV as both men and women ratings are up by more than 20% vs. last year. It is also the only night to hold audience from March.

Sunday is the night where men really tune in. HOLMES INSPECTION, HOLMES ON HOLMES and this month’s special BEST OF HOLMES ON HOLMES all feature Mike Holmes and together they draw the highest men 18-49 and men 25-54 ratings of the week. Male ratings held steady vs. last year while women slipped, pushing the men past the women, with a 51% share of the 25-54 audience.

Tuesdays were the lowest rated night of the week, brought down by the struggling PROPERTY VIRGINS. The night is in transition as it becomes a second design-themed night. WHITE ROOM CHALLENGE and MILLION DOLLAR ROOMS are in place and signature HGTV DESIGN STAR is ready to launch. WHITE ROOM CHALLENGE had a strong debut. MILLION DOLLAR ROOMS started to fade fast, but was revived with a shortened 30-minute version at the end of the month (it is normally one of HGTV’s handful of hour-long 8PM shows). With the exception of DESIGN STAR, design programming is not typically a strong ratings draw. HGTV is trying to mix up the genre with bold, updated programming…a makeover, if you will. So far results are mixed.

Thursday and Friday nights lost women viewers vs. both last month and last year. On Thursdays the SELLING… franchise took a hit, losing more than a fifth of its core audience from last month and from last year. Friday’s loss was due to the lack of specials compared to last month and the switch away from the three-hour HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL block that was running last year. Still, the best-rated show of the month aired on Friday, April 20th – FLEA MARKET FLIP.

Saturday’s design line-up held up this month. CANDICE and GENEVIEVE were able to deliver slightly above the primetime average. Of note, the design programs do not deliver the biggest ratings for HGTV, but they are among the most time-shifted programs on the line-up. CANDICE TELLS ALL, DEAR GENEVIEVE and WHITE ROOM CHALLENGE were three of the four regularly scheduled programs to receive the most lift from Same Day viewing.