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.
JANUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. December 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Lifetime made a firm entrance into the New Year with improved ratings from December and largely unchanged ratings from last year. The single sour note was a 13% decline among women 18 – 49 from last January.
Much of the credit for the network’s strong performance belongs to DANCE MOMS. The popular program returned for a third season and drew excellent numbers. The show’s four new episodes were all within Lifetime’s top five most viewed telecasts of the month. The show was only beaten out by Lifetime Original PROSECUTING CASEY ANTHONY.
DANCE MOM’S performance in January outdid its typical second season ratings. On top of that, the season three premiere also earned the show a series high. The show proved especially strong among women aged 18 – 49 but was very popular among the 25 – 49 crowd as well. Compared to January of last year (which aired new season 2 episodes) women 18 – 49 were up 21% while women 25 – 54 were up 75%. Lifetime’s January success did not end with MOMS.
The network’s highest rated program of the month was PROSECUTING CASEY ANTHONY starring Rob Lowe. The Lifetime Original, which chronicles the infamous 2011 murder case, was also the highest rated telecast among basic cable in total viewers, women 18 – 49, and women 25 – 54 for its night.
The long-running PROJECT RUNWAY also returned in January. The show kicked off its 11th season, enjoying a well-received premiere. Though the new season has just begun, it seems to have begun with unsure footing. Though the show still attracted a decent sized audience among women 25 – 54, the premiere ratings were down from the previous season.
Meanwhile, the ALL STARS iteration of RUNWAY closed out its second season in January. The spinoff experienced improved ratings from December (up 18 % with women 18 – 49 and 8% with women 25 – 54). However, the show was down from January 2012 (in which the series originally premiered) by 32% with women 18 – 49 and 22% with women 25 – 54.
DOUBLE DIVAS, a reality show centered around two owners of a custom lingerie store in Georgia, debuted in January. After a fair premiere, the show proceeded to dip in the ratings with each successive episode. The show has found equal (if diminishing) viewership among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54.
Finally, TEEN TROUBLE entered into its second month on the air. Unlike DIVAS, TROUBLE consistently gained in the ratings but still remains one of the network’s more weakly rated programs.