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 has usually undergone significant shifts each month, with short-run series alternating with movies and specials.
MARCH 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This is the third 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.)
March featured a more consistent scheduling strategy from week to week., with more reliance on three-hour Prime blocks of series like OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER and UNFAITHFUL: STORIES OF BETRAYAL. These two series led Monday, Saturday, and especially Sunday to strong growth over last year and last month. The same lineup for Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday remained in March from February, providing OWN with month-to-month consistency heretofore mostly absent. In its third month, OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER grew 300% over its HH and demo averages from February.
Repeat episodes of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER helped Monday to growth in the 60% range over last year and last month, while on Tuesday the 9-10pm tandem of WHAT WOULD YOU DO and BEYOND BELIEF dropped half their rating for younger women from their debut in Week 2 of the survey to Week 4.
Wednesday's block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE earned minor growth over a similar block in March 2011, and was flat with last month. The block generally grows throughout the evening.
None of the Thursday Movies stood out this month, while Friday's Crime theme continues, as ON THE CASE replaced the POLICE WOMEN anthology three of four nights this survey. ON THE CASE generally grows 8-11pm; the one week block of POLICE WOMEN was the weakest Friday of the month.
Demos grew sharply against last year and more modestly against last month on Saturday as 9-11pm UNFAITHFUL: STORIES OF BETRAYAL, OWN's #2 series for RW18-49, delivers consistent ratings from week to week.
Bolstered by an OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER interview with Whitney Houston's daughter, following the special REMEMBERING WHITNEY, Sunday earned explosive growth over last year's mixed bag of series episodes and specials on this night. Demos were more than four times those of March 2011, and up a similar amount over last month.