Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas. They look for reality competition shows, game shows, and scripted dramas geared to the 25-54 demo.
PROJECT RUNWAY was a key asset for Lifetime. A network known for movies since the beginning, now has come to expect high quality entertainment scripted shows. Unscripted shows however, have always been a challenge for them because it's not part of their brand expectation. RUNWAY, a top competition show, enabled them to branch out and acquire new reality shows and use RUNWAY as a launching pad for new programs.
DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2011 vs. December 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Lifetime was up a full 44% from the month before, finally shaking a longstanding negative trend. While yearly change was still down (13%), the network seems to be making strides in the right direction.
The sudden rise in viewers comes from an unmistakable source: family Christmas movies. Lifetime emerged as a destination of choice for viewers throughout the holiday season. Lifetime shows fared poorly, taking a backseat to the slew of original movies.
The most watched film of the month, CHRISTMAS ANGEL, was actually a 2009 release. ANGEL beat out the new 2011 release DEAR SANTA by a wide margin – most likely because of its closer proximity to Christmas.
Lifetime’s Christmas themed films were the biggest hit with women aged 25-54. This demo also showed up en masse for A NANNY FOR CHRISTMAS – a year-old special. Ultimately, Lifetime’s various holiday films comprised the channel’s top 17 telecasts for the month.
Lifetime’s highest rated program was AMERICA’S MOST WANTED. The long-running WANTED was axed by Fox in May only to be revived by Lifetime. The show re-emerged on December 2nd and managed to find a significant audience. WANTED easily had the most male viewers for the network and also appealed to women in both main age demos.
Reruns of WIFE SWAP were narrowly beat out by brand new show AMERICAN SUPERNANNY. SUPERNANNY – based on the British reality show – received solid, if not outstanding ratings. It certainly was unable to crack the top 20 telecasts for the month – a list controlled by Lifetime movies and MOST WANTED.
ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE and PROJECT ACCESSORY were at the low end of the list but still managed more viewers than STARVING SECRETS WITH TRACY GOLD. Similar to last month, SECRETS failed to find a sizable audience with any demo.