With the clear success of scripted series on History, the network is making scripted fare a larger portion of its lineup. Series THE BIBLE and VIKINGS, which debuted in March 2013, scored massive numbers for the network, and, much like sister network A&E, there's more in the pipeline. In addition, character-driven series (SWAMP PEOPLE) as well as transactional programs (PAWN STARS) continue to score big.
The primetime 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 are a mix of scripted and unscripted programming.
APRIL 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Following last month's stellar performances by THE BIBLE and VIKINGS, which in delivered record-breaking numbers for the network, History had some big ratings shoes to fill. Numbers in April weren't quite as impressive, but it's clear that History has established itself as a force in both the scripted and unscripted markets.
AMERICAN RESTORATION was the top-performing show of the month for History, and helped drive Tuesday night's transactional-themed lineup up 36% compared to last year. This night, which includes PAWN STARS, and COUNTING CARS, was also one of the stronger nights of the week for the network.
Also scoring big numbers in April was SWAMP PEOPLE, part of the Thursday night lineup, which also included the debut of freshman series CHASING TAIL. Despite strong performances from SWAMP, the night was down in overall HH demos compared to last year, and down in the male demos as well. CHASING TAIL also wasn't able to hold SWAMP's nearly double-average numbers either.
Sunday nights in April featured AX MEN, followed by scripted series VIKINGS in the 10pm slot. The night was up 24% compared to April 2012, and VIKINGS continues to deliver numbers nearly twice the primetime average.
Friday night's 57% growth was fueled by stacked episodes of AMERICAN PICKERS, another force the network in the transactional space.
With big competition for viewers across the network and cable landscape during the month, April was somewhat of a transitional month for History. The new high-profile scripted series are clear game-changers for the network. We expect to see more programming like this in the future for History, as well as the emergence of sister network H2 as a home for the more traditional History fare, and more original series.