HGTV Analysis



HGTV is one of the most consistent programmers on the cable spectrum, but this August and September the network made some radical changes to its line-up. Radical for HGTV, anyway.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, tethered to 10 and 10:30 from Monday through Saturday. And PROPERTY BROTHERS remains a staple. The rest of the line-up is under serious re-construction.

The net rotated “signature” series such as HGTV’d and HGTV DESIGN STAR on Mondays last year and Tuesdays this year. But those programs are all gone now, replaced for the most part by new rising star, LOVE IT OR LIST IT, which is basically HOUSE HUNTERS with a spin.

“The Guys of Wednesday Night” still reign, with the help of new program BUYING AND SELLING (starring the PROPERTY BROTHERS Drew and Jonathan Scott) which was introduced in September.

Thursdays were the power real estate brokers with SELLING NY, then LA, and most recently LONDON. NATURAL BORN SELLERS joined the fray in August. But this September they are all gone, replaced with BUYING AND SELLING and various specials.

Saturdays have been home to “Design Time” for…ever(?). The design shows consistently under-perform real estate and construction programming, but seemed safe and somewhat under the radar on Saturday nights, where Design Stars and HGTV personalities were born and bred. But not anymore. LOVE IT OR LIST IT bumped them all out of primetime in August.

And finally, Sundays have been the long-standing home for Mike Holmes and his various programs…HOLMES ON HOMES, HOLMES INSPECTION and GREAT AMERICAN HANDYMAN. But the programming has been fading and the dual male/female audience did not match the rest of the schedule. By the end of September Mike and his programs were gone, replaced with PROPERTY BROTHERS and BUYING AND SELLING.


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2012 vs. October 2011  (% Change)




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MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

OCTOBER 2012: A month of both good news and bad news as HGTV improved ratings over last year on six nights of seven but lost ground on six nights of seven vs. last month. Bottom line women 25-54 ratings came in 10% ahead of last year’s numbers and 10% below last month’s numbers. Serious strategy changes to the line-up were implemented these last couple of months and the results are starting to come in.

LOVE IT OR LIST IT launched last November on Monday nights, gained a big following (Hillary Clinton named it as her favorite program!), and started getting a heavy rotation this summer. LOVE IT OR LIST IT is the only program besides stalwarts HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL to get more than 3 runs per week, but it ranks as the 10th best rated program on households, the 6th best on core women 25-54, and falls below the network average across the board. With 5 runs per week and no new episodes since April, audiences are wearing out.  Average program ratings took an eight percent drop on women 25-54 from September, which took a 12% drop from August. Season 5 of the show began on Monday, October 29 and the new episodes should help renew interest. But for now, Mondays, with two runs of LOVE IT OR LIST IT each week, performed slightly below the network average, with core women 25-54 ratings down 19% vs. last month and up 18% vs. last year.

Because LOVE IT OR LIST IT is an hour long while the HOUSE HUNTERS are both half-hour shows, LOVE IT actually has the biggest primetime presence on the line-up. The HOUSE HUNTERS each get six runs, or three hours of primetime each week while LOVE IT takes up five hours. Together the three programs take up slightly more than half the schedule. Fortunately, HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL are faring better than LOVE IT OR LIST IT. They are the two top-rated programs on the primetime schedule for households, women and adults. Ratings for the two shows improved by 30% vs. last year, but like the rest of the line-up, they lost audience vs. last month, down by about 10%.

Tuesday night is the lowest rated night of the week with LOVE IT, PROPERTY VIRGINS and the HOUSE HUNTERS. Ratings for the night moved in the same direction as the rest of the line-up.

Wednesdays have become the best-rated night of the week, pulling the highest numbers for households, men and women. PROPERTY BROTHERS repeats are leading into the new rising HGTV star, BUYING AND SELLING. Starring the property brother twins themselves, the show premiered in September, and was the only returning program on the line-up to grow month over month audience. Its ratings rank right behind the HOUSE HUNTERS on all demos.

Thursdays have ditched the power real estate brokers and replaced them with BUYING AND SELLING encores and new program this month EXTREME HOMES. EXTREME HOMES held its own, improving audience over BUYNG AND SELLING more times than not, and striking a chord with men as well.

Friday nights continue on as a mixed bag, with a rotating mix of programming. FLEA MARKET FLIP was both the best rated (in the first week) and lowest rated (in the second week) of the night.

Saturdays underwent the biggest change of all. Long standing, but low-rated Design Time Saturday night was wiped off the slate, replaced by the formulaic, and possibly over-played LOVE IT OR LIST IT. But it was a terrific move for the ratings as they climbed 32% for women 25-54 and 45% for adults 25-54 over last year. It was the only night of the week to gain audience vs. last month.

Sunday has still not found itself after losing Mike Holmes and his steady, dual-appeal programming. A solid line-up of EXTREME HOMES, BUYING AND SELLING and PROPERTY BROTHERS was in place, but Sunday was the only night to lose audience vs. last year (-14% on women 25-54 and -34% men 25-54). A promising show premiered in the third week of October – HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION. The next new successful spin-off is in the house.