History Channel Analysis



Programming blocks and consistent scheduling seem to be History’s mantra.  Not too wide a programming mix, the primetime schedule is home to the solid favorites, giving viewers several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing.  On weekends, a mix of programming and stacked mini-marathons of top shows drive the lineup.  In recent months, and especially with the success of mini-series HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, look for History to start increasing the amount of scripted programming in their lineup.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2012 vs. August 2011 (% Change)




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MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

August, like July, saw numbers down across the board for History.  Coming off an incredibly strong dune with the high-profile miniseries HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, both July and August struggled to find footing without the influence of a heavily-marketed tentpole premiere.

Mondays in August remained one of the strongest nights of the week for History, though year-to-year numbers were down fairly significantly - HH numbers were down 27%, and the key younger demographics saw an even greater fall from last year.  Anchored by PAWN STARS and AMERICAN PICKERS, the night is still performing well when compared to History's averages, and it is the strongest of the week for the network.  Monday 8/13 saw the premiere of new series COUNTING CARS, and while the show couldn't hold the stellar lead-in numbers of PAWN STARS, it more than doubled the average for the night.

Tuesdays in August saw more PAWN STARS, paired throughout the month with ANCIENT ALIENS, TOP GEAR, and COUNTING CARS.  The night is down moderately compared to last year.  Still, COUNTING CARS continued to score above-average numbers in the lead-out spot.

CAJUN PAWN STARS anchors History's schedule for Wednesday nights.  This month, the night saw year-to-year losses of 12% overall, and similar drops among key younger demographics.  Lead out PICKED OFF gained momentum throughout the month, finishing up at about average on 8/15.  AMERICAN RESTORATION in the same spot didn't hold the lead-in numbers.

Thursday's moderate growth (up 8% in HH viewers compared to last year) has more PAWN STARS to thank.  GREAT LAKE WARRIORS struggled in the 10pm slot for the first few weeks of the month, and was later replaced by COUNTING CARS, which scored above-average.

Fridays in August featured mostly stacked episodes of AMERICAN PICKERS and the night was down compared to last year.  Some episodes managed to hit average, but most fell below during the month.

Marathons of PAWN STARS anchored the Saturday primetime lineup in August and, as we've seen, the show manages to draw a crowd whenever it's scheduled.  The night was up 75% compared to August of 2011, and saw similar growth among the key demographics as well.

Sunday's schedule in July was anchored by ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, parked with AMERICAN PICKERS and PAWN STARS.  ICE ROAD TRUCKERS continues to deliver above-average numbers for History, as did PICKERS and PAWN.  Still the night was down, thanks to tired reruns.

August appeared to be somewhat of a transitional month for History.  Look for more scripted programming and miniseries in the coming months, as well as more attempts by the network to step on Discovery's toes in programming choices and scheduling.