MTV's schedule is constantly changing. They usually have at least 3 nights of primetime first-run programs, while the other nights are either re-runs or other specials. They fill gaps in the schedule by showing feature films and a few acquired series relevant to their audience. The timeslots leading up to premieres are usually a marathon of episodes of weeks' past. They rely on a lot of repetition in the form of marathons, especially on the weekends. They also make good use of tent poling by scheduling longstanding reliable series like THE REAL WORLD at 10pm and new, untested content either right before or at 10:30 or 11pm.
January 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MTV ushered in the new year toasting the return of Snooki and The Situation. After a brief absence, the crew came back to the shore house for the fifth season of the much beloved (and reviled) reality show.
JERSEY SHORE picked up a few short months after the conclusion of the last season. And while SHORE is still a monster, there are unmistakable signs that the party is starting to wear thin. The January 5th premiere of the show fell well short of the previous two season debuts. Following the premiere, the show has suffered more dips in the ratings.
A comparison of the numbers between January 2011 and 2012 is as clear an indication of waning interest as any. A year ago, JERSEY SHORE had reached the zenith of its considerable popularity. The show carried MTV to record breaking heights and sparked a cultural phenomenon. This past January, MTV’s JERSEY SHORE premiere nights (Thursday) were down 29% -- quite a fall from last year’s numbers.
That said, SHORE still continues to be a resounding success for the network. In fact, the show can only be construed as a disappointment when compared with itself. Compared to last month, Thursday was up a stunning 383% among women aged 18-49. While young women were the strongest demo, ratings were impressive across the board. The show’s popularity easily made Thursday the network’s most viewed night of the week.
While SHORE had the top four telecasts, reruns of TEEN MOM also performed very solidly. A primetime block of the show made Tuesdays the second biggest night of the week. Virtually every entry in the top twenty telecasts was either SHORE or MOM – only a single telecast of CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE EXES managed to slip in. MOM’s biggest demographic continues to be women aged 18-49. The interest of this loyal fan base was perhaps renewed by a recent rash of tabloid drama swirling around the show. Two of the show’s stars are currently mired in legal turmoil. Headlines and gossip revolving around the show’s characters has been an asset to the show’s popularity.
Reality show THE CHALLENGE continues to maintain a sizeable audience even as it enters into its 22nd season. The show had the most female viewers of any MTV show for the month. Unlike MOM and SHORE, MTV used CHALLENGE sparingly.
A similar scheduling tactic was used for longstanding show TRUE LIFE. LIFE accrued a fairly large, mostly female audience.
The remainder of MTV’s scheduling was mostly comprised of reruns (such as RIDICULOUSNESS and AWKWARD) that performed adequately.