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.
MARCH PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
After two months in a row where overall demo delivery nudged into the positive frame, March was essentially flat for Spike, compared to last year. Tuesday and Wednesday were the only nights to grow, buoyed by an expanded footprint for new series INKMASTER, as well the return of AUCTION HUNTERS and Movies to Wednesday. Delivery was down slightly from February
Monday's stack of 1000 WAYS TO DIE ran two weeks, following two weeks of Movies. KILL BILL VOLUME 2 was the top Movie on Monday, but the series stack on the last two weeks out-delivered it for HH and demos. Delivery was down slightly from last month, as well as March 2011's mix of Movies and UFC fare.
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. March in turn benefited from the season finale, which was the #1 individual telecast for the survey for Spike. Movies rounded out the last two weeks, leading to overall 65% growth over 2011 when Movies filled most of the Tuesday block.
AUCTION HUNTERS and Movies replaced 1000 WAYS TO DIE on Wednesdays, leading to strong demo growth over last year's blocks of 1000 WAYS TO DIE. Numbers were up a similar amount from last month.
Thursday's JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING audience was down slightly compared with last year and last month.
Nothing stood out from Friday's mixed bag of series blocks and Movies as the night as a whole was down 25% for RM18-49 from February's Movie-driven ratings.
A Sunday run of the recent WALKING TALL re-make was the top Movie for the third month in a row. Movies continued to out-deliver the occasional series block on the weekends, with the exception of a Sunday block of AUCTION HUNTERS which repped the highest nightly ratings for the Weekend in March.