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.
FEBRUARY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
February is the second month in a row where overall demo delivery nudged into the positive frame, buoyed by an expanded footprint for new series INKMASTER, as well as modest year-to-year growth for 1000 WAYS TO DIE and Movies. Delivery was flat with January
After two quiet months in a row with no significant schedule shifts, there were notable changes on four weeknights, with only Thursday's venerable JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING block undisturbed from January.
Monday's stack of 1000 WAYS TO DIE ran only one week, with Movies and a stack of episodes from the mini-series BAND OF BROTHERS filling out the remainder of the survey. CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE was the top Movie on Monday. BAND OF BROTHERS dropped 25% in RM18-49 from a similar telecast last year, and the night ended up down slightly for RM-18-49. Delivery was flat with last month.
With January's Tuesday demo growth due in large part to the debut of new series INK MASTERS at 10pm, Spike expanded the series to a full 3 hours in February. Premieres remained at 10pm, with each episode then repeating at 9pm the following week, leading in to that week's debut episode. 10pm episodes of INK MASTERS grew 23% in RM-18-49 from Week 1 to Week 4 of the survey, and the night as a whole grew a similar amount over its January average, when AUCTION HUNTERS filled most of the 8-10pm block.
1000 WAYS TO DIE replaced Wednesday's usual UFC-related fare three out of four weeks, essentially flat with last year's mixed bag of series blocks. Numbers were down slightly from last month, when the ULTIMATE FIGHTER UNLEASHED had its last hurrah before moving to FX.
Thursday's JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING audience was essentially flat with last year and last month.
Movie's such as PAYBACK and two JURASSIC PARK titles helped Friday to the sharpest HH and demo growth of the month. A one week block of INK MASTERS repeats significantly under-delivered the Friday Movie average, as the night as a whole was down slightly from January's GANGLAND'- driven ratings.
A Sunday run of the recent WALKING TALL re-make was the top Movie for the second month in a row. Movies continued to out-deliver the occasional series block on the weekends, with AUCTION HUNTERS and a Saturday block of INK MASTERS both coming up short, although both nearly tripled their 8pm demo rating by the end of the block at 11pm.