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.
Historically a network rooted in scripted programming, Lifetime has struck a balance between traditional dramas and spunky reality shows. Lifetime parlayed the success of PROJECT RUNWAY into slate of unscripted programming to complement established hits such as ARMY WIVES and, more recently, THE CLIENT LIST.
SEPTEMBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
After a very strong showing in August, Lifetime came back to earth this passed month. From a monthly standpoint, Lifetime was down in every main demographic across the board. Conversely, viewership among women 18 – 49 was up 14% from last year.
The top overall performance belonged to ARMY WIVES (which featured one telecast for the month). The show’s sixth season came to a close in September and earned solid, if uninspiring, ratings. The finale was not the highest viewed episode of the season and was the worst rated WIVES closer thus far.
Nevertheless, the finale was Lifetime’s top rated telecast of the month, finding roughly an equal audience among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54. The ratings were apparently strong enough to merit another season: Lifetime ordered a seventh season shortly after the sixth concluded.
As with WIVES, DROP DEAD DIVA aired a single September telecast. But unlike the army drama, DIVA closed out its season on a high note. DIVA’s finale was the show’s highest rated episode of the season and was ultimately the network’s second most watched telecast of the month. Compared to last year, DIVA was up 40% and 24% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively.
PROJECT RUNWAY did not make similar yearly strides: the show was down by 38% among women 25 – 54. Despite this slippage, all four of the program’s premiere episodes landed a spot within the network’s top ten telecasts of the month.
DANCE MOMS’s lengthy second season came to a close in September. And despite strong ratings with women 18 – 49, the month’s new episodes were a hair below August’s premiere ratings. But while the show did not reach a personal best, it was very beneficial for Tuesdays. The night was up 250% among women 18 - 49 from last year, which featured PICKER SISTERS and AMERICAN PICKERS.
THE WEEK THE WOMEN WENT was yet another program that concluded its season. The short series got off to a rough start in August and failed to improve this passed month. The show failed to claim a spot in Lifetime’s list of top 20 monthly telecasts. The show also dipped 16% among women 25 – 54.
PRANK MY MOM returned after a seven-month hiatus. While PRANK was never a hit for the network, lowered ratings suggest that viewers have lost interest with the show.