Stacked episodes and theme nights are the focus of the Science Channel primetime schedule in 2013. The schedule is anchored by several off-network acquisitions, and titles shared with sister network Discovery, paired with Science Channel original series. While HOW IT'S MADE remains the heaviest rotated show in the primetime lineup, there has been less reliance on the series as more originals debut.
March 2013 was an alien-themed month for Science, with a variety of programs, series, and specials all dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life.
MARCH 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2013 vs. March 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
What used to be a network that relied nearly primarily on re-airings of HOW IT'S MADE has developed into a network with a full slate of original series in various genres and high-profile specials, and off network acquisitions. This paid off well for the network in 2012, and as 2013 continues on, there's been a trend in the rise of overall viewers. March 2013 had some highlights, as the network used this month to explore the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. However, overall ratings were flat from last year, and down among the younger male demos. Strong performances from high-profile premieres haven't been able to offset the losses from reruns of old staples.
ALIEN ENCOUNTERS premiered on Tuesday, 3/5, and help drive the night up 9% in total viewers. However, male demos were down for the night, as the series attracted more of a female audience than Science channel programs typically do. In its second week, numbers doubled the primetime average, and the series was the highest rated program of the month. Later in the month, ALIENS: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE took over in the 10pm slot, but this show didn't fair as well as ENCOUNTERS. Still, Tuesday nights were the strongest of the week for the network.
Staple of the primetime schedule, HOW IT'S MADE continues to pull in viewers, and the show was up 23% compared to last year, and helped drive Wednesdays and Thursdays up over last year. Wednesdays also received a boost from a strong performance of THROUGH THE WORMHOLE.
Mondays continue to be a strong home for more of Science's signature series like HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS and INTO THE UNIVERSE. This month, a haphazard schedule caused some ratings fluctuations and the night was down compared to last year, and last month.
ODDITIES and ODD FOLKS HOME continue to struggle on Saturday nights. AN IDIOT ABROAD also ran during March, but numbers didn't come close to average. A mix of reruns on Sundays also didn't help bring in an audience, but a marathon of HOW IT'S MADE early in the month helped boost the year-to-year numbers.
What's working best these days on Science is... well, Science. March 2013 had success with the alien-themed programming, but there are clearly still holes in the schedule that need to be filled. The network is still struggling with how to do comedy. In the remainder of 2013, look for more male-skewing character-driven shows, as well as more comedy and science "outside the box."