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.
OCTOBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2012 vs. October 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Lifetime enjoyed a very strong October from both a monthly and yearly perspective. Lifetime movies had an especially strong showing and deserve the most credit for the network’s successful month.
Lifetime’s most popular movie of the month was STEEL MAGNOLIAS. The Lifetime remake of the 1989 film features an all black cast and proved a massive hit with women in both the 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 demos. In terms of female viewers, nothing held a candle to MAGNOLIAS – not even the other well-received movies that aired on the network.
Although Lifetime Originals generally garner a fair amount of attention, they aren’t accustomed to the ratings MAGNOLIAS had. But even with MAGNOLIAS’ impressive ratings, Sundays still weren’t the most watched night of the week.
That distinction belonged to Saturday nights. While Saturday couldn’t boast a ratings monolith like MANGNOLIAS, the night did offer a number of smaller, satisfactory performances.
Saturday films such as STALKED AT 17 and A NANNY’S REVENGE fared well, finding an especially strong audience among women 25 -54. Both Lifetime Originals premiered in October to comparable ratings. The most watched Saturday movie was ABDUCTED: THE CARLINA WHITE STORY. The original film, based upon a true story, was extremely popular with women 18 – 49.
But not all the glory belonged to Lifetime’s slate of original movies. BEHIND THE HEADLINES: AMANDA KNOX was the second most viewed program behind MAGNOLIAS. The network had aired a scripted film recounting the Amanda Knox trial in 2011, which had been received well. The documentary was well received by women, especially in the 18 – 49 range.
PROJECT RUNWAY concluded its tenth season and earned solid numbers for Lifetime. The long running program improved upon the ratings of its finale last year. All told, October was a solid month for RUNWAY – each episode performed better than the one before it.
THE HOUSTONS: ON OUR OWN premiered in October to mediocre ratings. The reality series, which features the family of Whitney Houston, found its largest audience among women 25 – 54. Despite the average ratings, HOUSTON still fared better than new show MY LIFE IS A LIFETIME MOVIE.
The new series, which features individuals embroiled in controversial or dire situations, failed to make noise with its debut.