HGTV Analysis



HGTV is one of the most consistent programmers on the cable spectrum, but the line-up went through some changes in the second half of 2012.

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 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 they have been replaced with BUYING AND SELLING and various specials.

Fridays are usually filled with a mix of seasonal specials.

Saturdays were 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 ratings spiked.

And finally, Sundays were the long-standing home for Mike Holmes and his various programs…HOLMES ON HOMES, HOLMES INSPECTION and GREAT AMERICAN HANDYMAN. But the programming was 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. In November HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION found a permanent home on Sunday nights.


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

2012: HGTV had a strong year in 2012. The introduction of renovation/real estate program LOVE IT OR LIST IT and other successful HOUSE HUNTERS spin-offs gave the line-up and the ratings the boost they needed. Additional programs from THE PROPERTY BROTHERS helped as well. It was also a year for pruning, as iconic DESIGN TIME SATURDAY NIGHT left the line-up, as did Mike Holmes’ male-skewing Sunday night programming.

December 2012: Following the dramatic schedule changes of the fall, HGTV kept its line-up in-tact again this month. With the exception of some seasonal specials, the primetime line-up remained unchanged from November. The audience is responding, as ratings improved vs. both last year and last month. Only Friday and Saturday nights experienced a decline versus last month. They were also the nights that hosted those seasonal specials. Apparently, HGTV audiences don’t like to mix it up too much.

Bottom line ratings improved by 6% for core women 25-54 vs. both last year and last month. Improvements for men were stronger on nearly every night, with bottom line ratings for men improving by 13% versus both last year and last month. However, despite the growth,men still play a supporting role at HGTV, remaining a small segment of the audience -- they account for about one-third of the ratings.

LOVE IT OR LIST IT is the powerhouse of both Monday and Saturday nights. The formulaic program now runs an impressive four to five times per week, an HGTV honor that is shared only with HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. The rest of the line up receives just one to two runs per week. LOVE IT is holding on Monday nights, but it slipped a bit on Saturdays vs. last month. Still, Saturday is hitting well above the levels it was at when design programming was airing. In fact, Saturday is the second-best rated night of the week this December. (It was the top-rated night in November, bottom-rated last Deceember).

On Tuesday nights PROPERTY VIRGINS closed out its 12th season, and ratings jumped by 20% or so. Still, average ratings for the show fall below the primetime average.

The star of the line-up this month was Wednesday’s BUYING AND SELLING. It jumped 26% on women 25-54 vs. last month (and 53% on men 25-54), and leap-frogged ahead of the venerable HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL on household and adult 25-54 ratings. The PROPERTY BROTHERS spin-off reinforces the success of HGTV’s cloning strategy.

On Thursdays EXTREME HOMES is in its debut season. Numbers are up from last month, but the show falls in the bottom half of the ratings rankers. A surprise appearance of HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE on a Thursday night pulled particularly poor numbers. BUYING AND SELLING plus HOUSE HUNTERS saved the night.

Friday’s mix of specials had, well, mixed results. FLEA MARKET FLIP was the worst of the bunch, while a telecast of CELEBRITY HOLIDAY HOME was the best. Still, none of the Friday night specials broke above the primetime average, perhaps victim to a slew of encores for each special, and also, the Friday night time slot.

And finishing out the week, Sunday night edged up versus last month, but viewers are still missing Mike Holmes programming. Ratings were off by 10% for women and 18% for men as compared to last year.

2013: No one believes in a new start for the new year as much as HGTV. The net starts out the year broadcasting the Rose Bowl parade (commercial free), and then gives viewers a peak at the programming year ahead. In 2013 it looks like there will be new programming for established stars, a continued focus on renovation and real estate and inside looks at international and enviable homes, all presented in an easy to follow format, and most with a happy ending.