In a radical break with the past, NGC ushered in 2012 by eliminating regularly scheduled anthologies Time-honored titles such as NAT GEO PRESENTS and EXPLORER along with newer umbrellas such as NG INVESTIGATES or NGENUITY were replaced by new seasons of series such as TABOO DRUGS, INC.
The Wednesday "Science Night" is no more, as series blocks alternate with specials to fill most nights.
Repeats of the previous week's premiere episodes are likely to serve as the lead-in for the current week's premiere, providing the network with two-hour blocks of its top programming most nights.
Crime-oriented series and specials remain a key component of the schedule, although a number of different factual genres are being explored. Ancient mysteries, contemporary fringe cultures and big science specials help round out the line-up.
JANUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
As Discovery's ID network has learned, Crime Pays. NGC 's growing success in the crime and punishment genre took a major step forward in January, with double-digit HH and demo growth over January 2011. RW18-49 was up 40% over last year and 27% over last month, driven by new TABOO and DRUGS, INC episodes.
January ushered in a new scheduling strategy that largely eschews anthologies in favor of listing the actual title of the series episodes which, in earlier months, repeated under umbrella titles such as NAT GEO PRESENTS or SUPER SATURDAY. This change was met by annual HH and/or demo growth every night of the week, especially for Thursday no longer. Science-themed as it was in 2011. With Science largely absent from the line-up in January 2012, the broader appeal programming strategy paid off.
Overall Median Age dropped 4% compared last year, following a 5% drop in December 2011.
Ten of NGC's Top 20 individual telecasts for the month dealt with lawbreakers, with the remaining slots occupied by specials and premieres of TABOO.
Mondays lead off with new series ON BOARD, followed by two hours of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS episodes starting at 9pm. These generally struggle to hold on the 8pm lead-in. Delivery was essentially flat with last year's Specials-driven Monday, but Women demos were up 25-33% over December.
While Tuesday was driven by History-themed specials in January 2011, new episodes of TABOO dominated the night this year, leading to sharp increases across the board. Younger Women were up 70% over last year, and the night as a whole dropped 17% in Median Age over the same period. RW18-49 nearly doubled over last month, with 9pm KNIGHTS OF MAYHEM now replaced by TABOO.
Wednesday earned the highest month-to-month growth with the replacement of Science-themed ROCKET CITY REDNECKS and NGENUITY with new and library episodes of DRUG'S INC. Younger Women demos tripled those of December, while all demos grew modestly over January 2011.
Thursday took top honors for year-to-year growth for the second month in a row, thanks in part to the specials DRAINING THE GREAT LAKES, DRAINING THE OCEAN and GOLD RUSH GHOST SHIPS. RA18-49 more than doubled this month, compared to 2011's Sci-Tech themed block. Delivery was up in the 25-35% range from last month.
Gangs, hate-groups and other fringe sub-cultures dominated much of Friday's line-up, leading to modest growth in older adults. Delivery was down sharply from December's Crime and Investigation-heavy lineup.
Saturday and Sunday both benefited from episodes of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS and DRUGS, INC, with the former doing well with A25-54, while the new season of DRUGS, INC. generated significant growth across-the-board from lat month and last year.