History focuses on character-driven (SWAMP PEOPLE) and transactional programming (PAWN STARS). The schedule tends toward appointment viewing, with stacked episodes of programs airing throughout the night. Occasionally specials, stunts and mini-marathons of original series take over. Sundays, which have been in the past home to scripted series, have shifted back to unscripted originals.
JANUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
After an undeniably positive year for History, January 2013 was a somewhat rough start to the year for the network. With only one new program debut during January, numbers were down compared to both last year and last month.
The brightest spot in January's numbers was the stellar year-to-year increase on Saturday nights, though it was due entirely to re-airings of PAWN STARS. Monday nights, which were the strongest of the week for History, despite the year-to-year dropoff, also have PAWN STARS, along with AMERICAN PICKERS, to thank for the numbers. Both series continue to score above average, though they are both down significantly in viewers compared to last year.
January saw the debut of a new series for History - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE PRESIDENTS on Friday, 1/18. The series aired in back-to-back episodes to below average numbers. It was replaced the following week by AMERICAN PICKERS, and didn't return to the schedule during the month.
Sunday night's primetime lineup was comprised of originals AX MEN and BAMAZON. The night was down 18% compared to last year, though the night was one of the strongest of the January primetime lineup. While AX MEN was down in viewers compared to both last month and last year, BAMAZON grew its audience 21% compared to December, and even more among the younger male demographics.
There is clear indication that History favorites are showing strong signs of wear. Look for more scripted programming and miniseries in the coming months, as well as more attempts by the network to figure out what the next versions of programs in the transactional space will be.