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-years-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. That was scrapped later in the year, as the schedule generally undergoes significant shifts each month, with short-run series alternating with movies and specials.
FEBRUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This is the second 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. In its second month, the series continued its precipitous decline from its Sunday 8-10pm premiere in January . The series, along with new episodes of MASTER CLASS at 10pm, helped the network to modest growth for RW18-49 over February 2011, but the night as a whole declined in the 60% range for key demos from last month.
Every night saw major schedule changes in January and then again in February, with the exception of Thursday and Friday night this month. Besides Tuesday, every night grew over last year in HH and/or demo rating. Compared to January, OWN declined five of seven nights. leading to overall monthly losses in the 20% range.
MONEY CLASS featuring personal finance guru Suze Ormond dropped significantly in its second month at 9pm on Monday, unaided by the weak delivery of new lead-in EXTREME COUPONING. Repeats of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER at 10pm had the only above-average performance for the month on this night.
While the Tuesday block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO and BEYOND BELIEF performed respectably, the night as a whole was undone when they were replaced by a movie and two episodes of GEEK LOVE the final Tuesday of the survey. A repeat of OPRAH'S OSCAR SPECIAL was the best performer among Wednesday's mixed bag of specials and series episodes.
The special REMEMBERING WHITNEY was the network's top program in February, more than doubling the next highest performer's HH and demo ratings.
Friday saw new "anthology series" POLICE WOMEN replaced halfway through the survey by a block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE, which helped drive Friday to significant demo growth over last year. RW25-54 dropped 33% from a similar lineup in January, however, as the two series alternate every few weeks.
The combination of UNFAITHFUL: STORIES OF BETRAYAL and STRANGE SEX episodes helped Saturday to explosive annual growth for younger women, who were also up 40% over last month.