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, scripted dramas geared to 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.
JANUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
January was a slow month for Lifetime. The network was flat from a yearly standpoint and was slightly down from the month before. The most successful programs for the month were Lifetime original film productions. The most popular titles were DREW PETERSON: UNTOUCHABLE, THE PREGNANCY PROJECT, and WALKING THE HALLS. All three of the Lifetime movies were original runs for the month of January.
While weekends were completely dedicated to movies, primetime weeknights had a more diverse schedule. DANCE MOMS – which has emerged as a minor cultural phenomenon – returned in January for its second season. The controversial show had a strong season debut and managed to build upon its audience throughout the month. The popularity of the show made Tuesdays the second most popular night among women behind Saturdays (which benefited from successful Lifetime original movies).
ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE floundered despite being handed the coveted DANCE MOM lead-in. The three episodes aired in January hardly managed a blip on the radar.
January also saw the premiere of PROJECT RUNWAY spinoff PROJECT RUNWAY: ALL STARS. The show’s loyal, built-in audience tuned in for this latest iteration, awarding the program with solid ratings among women 18-49 and 25-54.
24 HOUR CATWALK followed RUNWAY on Thursday but failed to make good on its strong lead-in. Despite the similar theme of the shows, CATWALK (which also centers around fashion design) flopped with viewers. Even women 18-49 – RUNWAY’s core audience – were disinterested in the newly premiered program.
AMERICA’S SUPERNANNY, still in its first season, couldn’t compete with Lifetime’s highest rated programs. Nevertheless, the show fared well among women in both main age demos.
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED – which aired the most episodes of any Lifetime series at 17 – managed fairly well. The show, which was recently picked up by the network, was the highest rated program among men.