Several years after launch, the schedule grid still provides very little consistency week to week. Themed nights are the order of the day, filled with short series, long series, and single hours in between.
NOVEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2011 vs. November 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Science Channel was a little all over the map in the month of November. HOW IT’S MADE dominated the schedule (and the ratings) while the debut of PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION performed just about average.
Overall, numbers were down moderately from last year (11%), but nicely improved since October (up 23%, and younger too.) Is it a temporary boost due to the 38 times they aired HOW IT’S MADE during the month? Possibly. December will likely be a telling month for the network, as they figure out what originals will work – and what won’t – on their very eclectic channel. Still, HOW IT’S MADE continues to work very well with the Science Channel audience, and the show was up 14% from last year.
The top program of the month was PUNKIN CHUNKIN on Thursday nights, with telecasts on 11/10 and 11/24 pulling in the highest numbers for the network this month with a big male skew. It fell a bit from last year’s numbers, but overall, this is a program that works well for Science’s tech-minded audience, and found a niche alongside HOW IT’S MADE.
Other returning shows didn’t fair quite as well – MANTRACKER and ODDITIES all took hits compared to their year-ago performance. Hopefully new episodes of the transactional-space ODDITIES will improve with its upcoming season 3 premiere in December. Not sure what will be the fate of MANTRACKER, as numbers fell throughout the month before it left the schedule on 11/22.
Highly-anticipated PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION hit the air November 9 this month. Numbers were just about average and Wednesday nights still struggled as the weakest night (and one of the oldest too.)
Other highlights of November’s schedule included SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLES which aired on November 25 and came in #3 in the ratings this month.
It seems Science is still doing their best to figure out what programs are the best version of Science – what will work with their finicky audience, and how to keep viewers engaged. Right now, the strategy is to throw a lot at the board and see what sticks – building things, throwing things, and black holes all seem to work right now. Like other Discovery nets, they are on the hunt for character-driven shows as well – as long as there is some kind of science connection.