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.
FEBRUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MTV plodded through another lackluster month, dropping in yearly ratings and staying flat from a monthly standpoint. Even the usually dependable TEEN MOM II failed to meet expectations.
MOM, which aired premiere episodes on Tuesday nights, closed out its second season this February. While the show’s ratings were impressive within the context of MTV’s entire schedule, MOM failed to recapture its former glory.
The show has suffered a sizeable drop-off compared to its wildly popular first season. Tuesday night ratings were down 26% among women 18-49 compared to February 2011 (which also featured new MOM episodes). This direct, yearly comparison is a clear indication of waning interest.
Similarly to fading star TEEN MOM, JERSEY SHORE has also lost some of its luster. While SHORE remains MTV’s crown jewel, there is no denying the show’s steady decline in popularity. The current (fifth) season has trended downward following an impressive January premiere – which aired a scant few months after the close of the previous season. All signs point to JERSEY fatigue among the show’s fringe followers. While the dedicated SHORE faithful continue to tune in tirelessly, the more casual fans are just about ready to let go.
Yet despite the steady trickle of lost viewership with each passing week, SHORE still commands an ocean of viewers. Women aged 18-49 still remain steadfast. This past February, young women helped make premiere episodes of the show the four highest rated telecasts for the network.
Elsewhere on the schedule, CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE EXES, was one of the more successful programs. CHALLENGE was the only show that managed to break MOM and SHORE’S collective stranglehold on the month’s list of top 20 telecasts. CHALLENGE benefited from its ability to attract a decent male audience in addition MTV’s usual female demographic.
The remainder of the network’s programming failed to pick up the slack left by the struggling heavy hitters. CAGED, which premiered in January, was up slightly from its disappointing debut. Still, the show’s upswing was hardly drastic enough to merit enthusiasm among network execs.
Even less encouraging was the flop of new scripted show I JUST WANT MY PANTS BACK. After a monster premiere in late August, PANTS returned in February to heavy depleted ratings. The network has experienced varying levels of success in regards to its scripted programming endeavor. Unfortunately, PANTS appears to have more in common with SKINS than the successful TEEN WOLF.