TBS Analysis - November 2011

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night starts the week with a strong FAMILY GUY block, and Tuesday is a straight 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 then leads into CONAN. Friday is the new Wednesday AT TBS;  Tyler Perry programming and ARE WE THERE YET? bring women and African-American viewers to the network on Friday nights. The weekend is mostly about movies, with FAMILY GUY or THE BIG BANG THEORY occasionally acting as a lead in.

NOVEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON November 2011 vs. November 2010 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

 -36%

  -37%

-35%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  27%

  -9%

  22%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 -10%

   48%

-32%

Thursday 8-11pm

 33%

   60%

 19%

Friday 8-11pm

 -7%

   -39%

 7%

Saturday 8-11pm

  12%

   1%

 10%

Sunday 8-11pm

  -23%

    -45%

  -16%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

 -4%

  -11%

-6%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NOVEMBER 2011: October is TBS’ best ratings month with post-season MLB games bringing big audiences to the net. And that gives November programs the most potential to take off. All the extra tune-in and on-air promotion generated by baseball set up the net for a strong November. Last year the net chose November to launch one of its most expensive and important franchises ever, CONAN.

Historically, November is one of TBS’ best-rated months of the year, and 2011 is no exception. However, not one month of 2011 saw year over year growth, and November 2011 lost 11% of men and 6% of women vs. November 2010.

The bad news for TBS is FAMILY GUY, which has continued to bleed audience. The program that helped establish TBS as a destination for young male audiences has lost its appeal and one-third of its audience vs. last year.  Still, even with its fading numbers the program pulls in desirable comps and men 18-49 ratings that are better than the network average.

Fortunately, TBS has bought some backup for FAMILY GUY, with THE BIG BANG THEORY. In its third month on TBS, the off-net sitcom is consistently pulling in very strong ratings, even with a schedule-hogging 62 telecasts this month.

The most interesting move on TBS was the shift of the female-skewing Tyler Perry sitcoms from Wednesday nights to Friday nights. Broadly accepted as the no-man’s-land of television, Friday night has the lowest viewing levels of the week, and is usually the place where good (and bad) programs go to die. There were three different TBS sitcoms in the Friday night mix this month – HOUSE OF PAYNE, FOR BETTER OR WORSE and MEET THE BROWNS. BROWNS has been struggling of late, and this month it dropped nearly half of its audience vs. last year, making it a likely candidate for the Friday Night Curse. It did pick up vs. last month, but that is on the lead-in strength of the other two shows. HOUSE OF PAYNE showed tremendous growth with an 88% uptick in women 18-49 audience vs. last year (when it was in repeats). FOR BETTER OR WORSE debuted on November 25th to strong numbers, putting the two launch night premiers in the number one and two top-rated slots for the month.  As was the case with Perry's other original comedy series, TBS will air 10 episodes of FOR BETTER OR WORSE as a test with the option to order 100 installments and Debmar-Mercury, in turn, will sell the show to TV stations.

However, although the news was good, the launch numbers were not as strong as they were for the first two Tyler Perry titles, and we have to point out that the ratings would probably have been better if it had all happened in the already branded Wednesday night slot.

Holiday specials have always been a specialty at TBS (24 HOURS OF A CHRISTMAS STORY being a personal favorite!), and this year the net posted solid numbers with How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the Wizard of Oz, Four Christmases and Fred Claus.

And so, after over a year of declining numbers, it looks like TBS is finally positioned to start climbing back up the steep and slippery ratings ladder.

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