THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER and other UFC-related series and specials pop up a lot in different days/time slots, although they no longer occupy the 1/3 of the Prime grid, at least, that they did in 2010. They still figure prominently among the top-rated vehicles each month. With their imminent departure to Fox Networks later this year, Spike will be trying to replace their strong demos with new fare.
Sports entertainment series IMPACT WRESTLING (formerly TNA IMPACT) generally holds one of the top spots in HH and key demo delivery each month. Other factual series usually deal with physical competition or risk.
Spike is retooling its original-series strategy, since AUCTION HUNTERS and FLIP MEN have proven to have more appeal than reality game show REPO GAMES or sitcom BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE. Spike has also recently made a serious commitment to off-network product, although the sitcom THE KING OF QUEENS was pulled from Prime a few weeks after premiering three nights a week in Prime in October 2011.
In addition they have recently invested in Theatrical acquisitions with movie franchises Rambo and the Star Wars saga.
JANUARY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
January represents a solid improvement over a December where Spike suffered significant HH and/or demo losses on five of seven nights. With solid double-digit demo growth three nights of the week in January, overall demo delivery nudged into the positive frame, while HH losses were only half those from December.
For the second month in a row, there were no significant schedule shifts, leaving delivery flat overall with last month.
Monday's stack of 1000 WAYS TO DIE lost 11% of last year's RM18-49 demo, which was delivered by a mix of UFC fare and Movies in 2011. The block generally declines from 8-11pm, and was replaced with Movies the last two weeks of the survey, which led to 40% growth for RM18-49 over a full month of the series during the December survey.
Tuesday's demo growth was due in large part to the debut of new series INK MASTER at 10pm, replacing FLIP MEN. INK MASTERS grew 50% in HH delivery in its second week, nearly doubling its not inconsiderable debut demo rating. All told, it was the top non-sports series for Spike in January, and the premiere telecast of its second episode was the #2 single telecast of the month, behind a live UFC match.
Two strong runs of the Movie RAMBO combined with Wednesday's usual UFC-related fare couldn't prevent losses from last year, when a stronger 1000 WAYS TO DIE dominated the evening. Numbers were down 21% from December.
Thursday's JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING audience was essentially flat with last year and up slightly from last month.
GANGLAND'S consistent delivery was assisted by the recent WALKING TALL re-make on Friday, the top January movie, as the night finished significantly up in the demo.
Saturday's UFC specials performed below their customary level, as the movies JAWS and a repeat of WALKING TALL took top Weekend honors, especially compared to 2011s CSI-heavy Sunday lineup.