TLC Analysis - March 2011

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MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TLC, which does occasional topical specials like the recent  EXTREME COUPONING and WILLIAM & KATE: A ROYAL LOVE STORY.  The schedule tends toward stacking by theme or editorial sensibility, rather than by title alone. They do not strip. Weekends carry mostly one-off hours, off-network newsmagazine reversions and, most recently a few specials.

MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

F18-49

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

35%

43%

54%

Tuesday 8-11pm

4%

-10%

5%

Wednesday 8-11pm

7%

-4%

6%

Thursday 8-11pm

-18%

-31%

-16%

Friday 8-11pm

-6%

-9%

12%

Saturday 8-11pm

3%

-33%

-6%

Sunday 8-11pm

11%

33%

21%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

3%

-2%

6%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

TLC may want to consider renaming itself The Colon Network (punctuation, not digestion).  Even Charlie Sheen got the colon treatment-too bad his particular vices couldn't hold up his polygamy (SISTER WIVES) lead-in rating.

Buddy is back, CAKE BOSS helped deliver the biggest night of growth over last year on Mondays.  Only Mondays and Sundays showed growth in the Women 18-49 demo, the other five nights were all down from year ago ratings.  Thursdays were down in all key demos from last year, POLICE WOMEN hasn't held up in these newer franchises. Saturdays were down in both key female demos from last year due to uneven performance of the News magazines.

Friday nights were down in both Households and Women 18-49 but delivered double-digit gains in Women 25-54.  SISTER WIVES was an integral part of the Strong Sunday night growth-up double digits in all key demos from last year.  The WILLIAM AND KATE SPECIAL did not perform very well, dropping 25% from the SISTER WIVES lead-in.  That's not a good sign for a week-long stunt of Royal Wedding themed programming coming up in late April.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

If this network has had a very, very wild ride in the last 12 months, it's only stronger for it. They rode the JON & KATE PLUS 8 bucking bronco for all it was worth - and as measured by ratings alone, it was worth a lot. While the schedule was an unpredictable mess for a while (it sometimes felt like Jon & Kate & Whatever Else We Have Lying Around), it turns out some solid series were developing or coming into themselves at the same time.  18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD and CAKE BOSS.  Character-driven family and ensemble casts are in favor here. You'll notice many series are structured to work without a narrator, but this does not suggest lazy production. Good episodes of any of TLC's successful series are driven by very solid, logical, emotional storytelling.  Executives at this network will know what they want, and have a well above average ability to articulate this. Seek them out. Trust what they say. Watch their air carefully. Better still, follow them closely, right here!

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