TBS Analysis

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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, which is in place at the end of the stack to give CONAN or original programming the biggest lead-in possible. Tyler Perry programming brings women and African-American viewers to the network on Fridays. THE BIG BANG THEORY has staked a claim to yet another night – Saturday – where it runs from 8PM to 10PM each week. Original hour-long comedies ran on Thursday nights this summer, but the newest show, WEDDING BAND, airs on Saturday nights at 10PM.


LIVE + SAME DAY PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON December 2012 vs. December 2011 (% 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

2012: TBS had a stellar 2012, with much-improved ratings and a couple of successful original comedy launches. While audiences aged and began to skew more female, they were also growing. All of this can be traced back to THE BIG BANG THEORY, which began airing on TBS in late 2011 and basically took over the network in 2012.

December 2012: Bottom-line, TBS managed to grow ratings vs. November, but lost some ground compared to last year. Adult 18-49 ratings improved by 15% vs. November but fell by 7% vs. last year, growing older by 10%. The crux of the line-up, Monday through Thursday actually showed growth vs. last year, it was the weekend line-up that deflated the bottom line.

Monday remains home to FAMILY GUY, with a few more episodes sprinkled in on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Although the program has fluctuated in ratings all year, it enjoyed another ratings burst this December, growing men 18-49 by 15% vs. last month and 10% vs. last year. Ratings were slightly ahead of the bottom line average, and it looks like the off-color, off-network comedy isn’t going anywhere in the near future.

Tuesdays are a full stack of THE BIG BANG THEORY, which has expanded out to a total of 16 telecasts per week, or 38% of the entire primetime line-up. With top ratings to boot, the show accounts for 52% of the 18-49 GRPs. Which all means that TBS is completely dependent on BANG for its bottom line performance. BANG is also used to launch new programs, as it did successfully with SULLIVAN & SON and MEN AT WORK earlier in the year. And it is used to give CONAN a boost in latenight. With the program coming up on a full year on TBS, annual comparisons will begin to level out. Hopefully the ratings for BANG will not do the same.

For now, Fridays are still dominated with Tyler Perry fare. FOR BETTER OR WORSE was running in a two hour block until HOUSE OF PAYNE was brought in to give some aid. Even with the help, the night and the two programs have lost a lot of viewers since last year. Among core women 18-49 viewers PAYNE is down 54%, FOR BETTER OR WORSE is down 60% and Friday nights are down 41%. With Tyler Perry signing a contract with OWN, Friday nights are in question down the line.

WEDDING BAND was the point of interest on the weekends. The original one-hour program launched last month to poor to mediocre numbers in the unfortunate Saturday night 10PM slot. This month it consistently lost about half of its BANG lead in, falling well below the primetime average. Compared to last month, it lost about 10% of its audience, which is a respectable drop-off, but the starting point was low.

24 HOURS OF A Christmas Story is a perennial highlight at TBS. This year the marathon’s primetime airings took the top two slots on the average household ratings ranker, improving performance over last year. Of note, the annual FUNNIEST COMMERCALS special did not return this year.

The rest of the movies on TBS tended to pull down the nightly average. Exceptional performers were The Hangover (which debuted on TBS last December), Four Christmases (which also aired on TNT this month), and Tyler Perry’s Married Too.

2013: The new year will bring more programming in the same vein of the 2012 fare.. COUGAR TOWN, premiering in January, is a big investment that comes with built in awareness and a loyal following. More original comedies plus competition based reality shows will be rolling out soon.