Spike TV Analysis - November 2011

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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 in 2012, Spike will be trying to replace their strong demos with new fare.

Sports entertainment series IMPACT WRESTLING (formerly TNA IMPACT) which generally holds one of the top spots in HH and key demo delivery each month has returned to Thursday nights from a several-month-long sojourn on Monday nights to take on USA's WWE Wrestling head-to-head. Other factual series usually deal with physical competition or risk.

Spike is, however, retooling its original-series strategy, having recently introduced reality game show REPO GAMES, sitcom BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE and reality series SCRAPPERS and AUCTION HUNTERS.  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.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /November 2011 vs. November 2010  (% Change)



Monday 8-11pm



Tuesday 8-11pm



Wednesday 8-11pm



Thursday 8-11pm



Friday 8-11pm



Saturday 8-11pm



Sunday 8-11pm



MTWTFSS 8-11pm



Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Monday to Wednesday' s 8pm programming returned after KING OF QUEENS under-delivered two of the three series it displaced from 8-9pm in October.  While Spike's third quarter  saw a turn-around  with the  first year-to-year ratings uptick in 18 months, October, and now November, saw young men fall faster than HH.

This top-line average, though, masks an even more significant problem: many of Spikes top telecasts caome from UFC-related series and specials.  Along with all other UFC-related fare, ULTIMATE FIGHTER UNLEASHED will be leaving Spike for Fox and FX in January, and Spike must scramble to replace its men demos.

The network was up slightly over October.

Monday's  returned to its usual stack of 1000 WAYS TO DIE which generally builds to the premiere episode at 10pm, which is followed by the previous week's 10pm premiere. Taking up nearly 30% of Spike's Prime hours in November, 1000 WAYS TO DIE's average HH and demo rating is significantly below the Prime average.

Tuesday, AUCTION HUNTERS grew to a 2 1/2 hour block replacing 8-9pm KING OF QUEENS  and earning the greatest month-to-month improvement of any weeknight in November. New 1030pm series FLIP MEN dropped 32% for RM18-49 from Week 1 to Week 4, but finished as the #3 non-sports series on the network. Demos for the night were up slightly compared to last year's mix of 1000 WAYS TO DIE andAUCTION HUNTERS.

Wednesday's UFC-related fare suffered the sharpest weeknight losses from last year, with delivery down slightly month-to-month.

The Median Age of Thursday's JAIL/ IMPACT WRESTLING audience grew +16% over 2010, leading to older demo-fueled HH growth, while the key M18-49 demo declined 12%.

GANGLAND was consistently the top demo vehicle on Friday, which finished flat with last year's  100 WAYS TO DIE-dominated night, as well as with last month.

UFC specials earned top Weekend honors, with a pair of STAR WARS films also doing well in the demo.