OWN launched by sprinkling Oprah-associated series on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, and the schedule is evolving as new series roll out. By 2nd Quarter 2011, original series episodes aired every night except Saturday, although the schedule continues to shift significantly from week to week.
Current series include medical mysteries, self-help, and celebrity-driven reality. Specials and series from Discovery Health have diminished as new original series launched, with some renewed for subsequent seasons.
The Prime scheduling strategy shifted in October, when the re-purposed "best-of-25-year-of-OPRAH" strip OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS premiered weeknights at 8pm, following a 7pm strip of the new Rosie O'Donnell chat skein. Two months later, this scheduling strategy was scrapped, with the return of DR. PHIL to 8pm. The schedule generally undergoes significant shifts each month, as short-run series alternate with movies and specials.
JANUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This will be the first survey where OWN is competing against its "own" ratings from the previous year. (Until now, the network was compared to the final months of DSC Health, the network it replaced.)
The big story in January 2012 was the launch of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER, the titular head's latest series. Premiering 8-10pm on Sunday, the series, along with new episodes of MASTER CLASS at 10pm, helped the network to slight growth for RW18-49 over January 2011. HH and demos grew in the 60% range over December.
Following its heavily promoted debut, there was significant audience erosion for the new series, with the final three weeks' ratings of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER down 67% in HH and W25-54 from the first two weeks. Despite the decline, demos were up in the 50% range for Sunday over last year.
Every night saw major schedule changes in January, with HH and/or demo growth every night of the week, compared to last month.
MONEY CLASS featuring personal finance guru Suze Ormond premiered at 9pm on Monday, growing nicely from week-to-week. With 8pm filled by a variety of specials, OPRAH AND THE CAST OF ROOTS proved to be tops for the night, as well as the month. New 10pm offering EXTREME COUPONING, generally held most of its MONEY CLASS' lead-in.
Medical and Crime programming failed to lift Tuesday over last year's numbers, but provided a significant lift over the series repeats that were on tap last month. Repeats of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER fueled Wednesday to significant younger demo growth over last year and last month.
DRIVING MISS DAISY was the top movie on Thursday in January, while new "anthology series" POLICE WOMEN drove Friday to 50-70% demo growth over December. Each of the series three nights featured a block of episodes set in either Memphis, Dallas or Maricopa. Each night grew throughout, with the Dallas episodes earning the highest overall ratings. A block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE equaled that series average on the final night of the survey.
Saturday's sole highlight was a block of STRANGE SEX specials, as annual losses suffered in December doubled in January.