Now that THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER and other UFC-related series and specials, which used to fill up to 1/3 of the Prime grid, have moved to Fox Networks, Spike is 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.
APRIL PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
A second consecutive month of flat-to-slightly down ratings, April represents the first post-UFC survey for Spike. Ironically, the Movies replacing Friday night's ULTIMATE FIGHTER block from March earned the greatest annual growth in April. Median Age grew 6% from last year and last month. Demo delivery was down slightly from March.
Monday's stack of 1000 WAYS TO DIE ran two weeks, out-delivering the average RM18-49 for the three weeks of Movies which followed. The recent WALKING TALL remake was the exception, however, taking top HH and demo honors for Monday Delivery was down slightly from last month, as well as April 2011's mix of Movies and UFC fare.
The Movie OCEANS 12 was the top offering for Tuesday. New series BIG EASY JUSTICE premiered at 10 and 1030pm on Weeks 3 and 4, holding or improving the lead-in from JAIL (Week 3) and DEA (Week 4.) Overall, BIG EASY JUSTICE was the #4 series for the demo in April, equaling 1000 WAYS TO DIE. Demo delivery was down 25% from last year's AUCTION HUNTERS blocks and down 40% from the INK MASTER-driven lineup from March.
In turn, AUCTION HUNTERS and AMERICAN DIGGERS replaced the UFC-related fare that dominated Wednesdays in April 2011, dropping 28% in the demo. HH Rating growth was spurred by Women, for whom AMERICAN DIGGERS and AUCTION HUNTERS are the top two Spike series. RM18-49 was down 9% from last month's similar lineup.
Thursday's JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING audience was down slightly in the demo compared with last year and last month.
Sci-Fi and Action franchise films drove Friday to the strongest growth for the month, with a classic STAR WARS title, ALIEN VS. PREDATOR and CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE jolting the network to 60% HH growth over last year's mixed bag of series repeats. HH and demo delivery was up in the mid-teens from March's ULTIMATE FIGHTER-driven lineup.
More classic STAR WARS and RAMBO titles joined yet another high-scoring telecast of WALKING TALL to help nudge Saturday and Sunday into positive territory versus April 2011. A Sunday block of BAR RESCUE also scored well above average, spurring that series into the number three series overall for M18-49.