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.
APRIL 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 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. April 2013's numbers demonstrated this, though losses among the male demos indicate that the network is starting to skew more female than it has in years past.
April 2013 saw the premiere of three new series - WHAT IS THAT on Thursday 4/4, SCAM CITY (which is an acquisition off Canadian network Travel + Escape) on Monday 4/15, and original series OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE on Saturday 4/20. Monday nights were flat compared to last year, but numbers were up in the male demos. This was less due to the premiere of SCAM CITY, which performed below average in its debut and in its following week, and more due to stronger performances by SURVIVORMAN TEN DAYS and HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS.
On the other hand, OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE did contribute to Saturday's year-to-year increases. The series performed over-average in its debut and even better the following week. Also scoring above average on the night was BIBLICAL MYSTERIES EXPLAINED. Still, numbers were down in the younger male demos, as more women are tuning into the Saturday night lineup.
Thursdays in April had the strongest year-to-year increases, and was the strongest night of the week for Science. WHAT IS THAT debuted on 4/4 to strong numbers leading out of HOW IT'S MADE. Numbers fell sharply the following week, though, and the show was quickly replaced with HOW DO THEY DO IT and OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE, which performed better.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays were both down compared to April 2012, due to haphazard schedule on both nights. Strongest performing was UNEARTHING ANCIENT SECRETS and SECRETS OF SECRET SOCIETIES.
What's working best these days on Science is... well, Science. 2013 saw 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."