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, 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 are also utilized.
The Prime scheduling strategy shifted in October, when the re-purposed "best-of-25-year-of-OPRAH" strip OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS premieres weeknights at 8pm, following a 7pm strip of the new Rosie O'Donnell chat skein. This will leave only two hours per night for series, specials and movies, while providing Oprah's on-screen presence each night from 8-9pm to lead-in.
OCTOBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2011 vs. DSC Health October 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
OWN launched 1/1/2011 to great media fanfare. For annual comparison purposes, we will look to the ratings of Discovery Health, which previously occupied OWN's channel position.
October represents the next watershed for the Network - when Oprah herself became front and center in Prime time, rather than the occasional series or special. Nearly half of October's Prime time slots featured an "OPRAH" vehicle, with 10 time periods offering a program with "OPRAH" in the title. HH and older demo ratings grew slightly above October 2010 and sharply over September 2011.
While Discovery Health was also driven by Female viewers, OWN has been skewing significantly older since its launch. This trend continued in October 2011, with the Median Age having risen 8% over October 2010.
The 8pm strip of OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS, which repackages episodes of the syndicated OPRAH WINFREY SHOW with new material, replaced DR PHIL in week three of the survey, growing female demos by 75% over DR. PHIL'S average for October.
THE ROSIE SHOW, which strips at 7pm, repeated at 10pm as well for the last week of the survey, before moving to its current home at 11pm. Other notable premiering series in October include:
-WELCOME TO SWEETIE PIES: Wednesday at 9pm and Saturday at 8 and 9pm, SWEETIE PIES premiered as the #1 original series on OWN for W25-54, tied with OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS for #1 W18-49. Ratings grew significantly from hour to hour and week to week on Saturday, leading into...
-DON'T TELL THE BRIDE: Lost more than half its demo lead-in at 10pm on Saturday. Replaced after two weeks with ROSIE SHOW.
New seasons of VISIONARIES, ASK OPRAH'S ALL STARS and OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING also premiered this month.
October's top-rated offering was a Sunday Prime block of off-CBS episodes of UNDERCOVER BOSS, which was that series only exposure on OWN this month. CELINE DION: 3 BOYS was the top special.
On Monday, new series SUPERSIZE VS. SKINNY continued its relatively poor performance since its launch in August, leading the night to the steepest annual declines for the month. Ratings grew stronger with repeats of the new season of OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING at 9pm in week 3, leading to strong growth over last month.
For the remainder of the week, the only stand-outs were the performance of OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS on Wednesday, where it paired with SWEETIE PIES, and Thursday, where a 9pm run of DON'T TELL THE BRIDE held the LIFE CLASS demo lead-in. However, none of the 9pm offerings consistently held, much less improved, the 8pm DR. PHIL or OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS lead-in on any weeknights.
Sunday's sharp growth was due to the one night block of UNDERCOVER BOSS episodes in addition to the return of OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING with premieres at 10pm.