Monday night starts the week with a FAMILY GUY stack, and Tuesday follows with a stack of THE BIG BANG THEORY. The two programs mix it up on Wednesday and Thursday nights with FAMILY GUY leading into THE BIG BANG THEORY. Friday through Sunday were all about movies on TBS for years, but change is underway. Tyler Perry programming brings women and African-American viewers to the network on Friday now, after getting the boot from its long-standing home on Wednesday nights. THE BIG BANG THEORY has staked a claim to yet another night – Saturday – where it runs from 8PM to 10PM each week.
JANUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON January 2012 vs. January 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
JANUARY 2012: After a long period of slow and steady decline, things are turning around at TBS. Ratings vs. last year are up 30% for adults 18-49 and 40% for adults 25-54. This is TBS’ second month in a row of double-digit growth for year over year adult 18-49 ratings. Before December 2011, the last time the network saw double-digit growth was October 2008 when adults 18-49 climbed 12% on the strength of post-season MLB.
The good news can almost wholly be attributed to THE BIG BANG THEORY. With 82 telecasts this month, the program is on the air four nights a week. Its ratings are head and shoulders above the rest of TBS’ line-up. Adult 18-49 ratings were 79% better than the next best rated program, FAMILY GUY. THE BIG BANG THEORY has grown its core 18-49 ratings for three out of three months on TBS. It grew 16% from October to November, 20% from November to December and now 16% from December to January.
With dominating ratings and primetime space, it was inevitable that the audience skew of THE BIG BANG THEORY would change the skew of TBS’ total primetime audience. The typically male or even-skewing net had a decided female skew this month and the audience holds the oldest non-MLB playoff age on our records (back to October 2007). But that is relative; the audience is still comfortably below 40.
As THE BIG BANG THEORY’s star rises, FAMILY GUY continues to fade. Its core men 18-49 are down 13% vs. last year. FAMILY GUY used to reign supreme on Monday nights, but now Mondays rank 5th among men 18-49 topping only Friday and Sunday nights this month. And Sunday’s young male numbers were extra low this January due to strong performances from football.
The other fading star at TBS is the Tyler Perry programming, which was moved to Friday nights. In repeats this month, HOUSE OF PAYNE dropped one-third of its core women 18-49 ratings vs. last year.
With Tyler Perry and THE BIG BANG THEORY moving in to weekends, movies hold a smaller presence, and the titles skewed female this month. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Shrek, Meet the Fockers and Pretty Woman pulled the best ratings among theatricals.
And so, TBS is on the upswing once again, and once again it is hitching itself to a single rising star. Hopefully one of the series in the pipeline will give the network some much-needed ballast.