TLC Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 25, 2009)


CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

CAKE BOSS (REALITY)
Buddy Valastro and his family owned bakery in Hoboken, NJ tackle a wide variety of cake requests and emergencies.
Premiered in May, 2009.  Produced by High Noon Entertainment.

DR. G: MEDICAL EXAMINER (MEDICAL)
Off-Discovery Health, Dr. Jan Gararaglia, a leading forensic pathologist, uses cutting edge techniques to explain unexpected deaths.
Status: Season 4 completed in April, 2009.  Produced by Atlas Media.

JON & KATE + 8 (REALITY)
A borrow from Discovery Health.  Day to day challenges and the heartwarming rewards for a Pennsylvania family with sextuplets and twins.  Main characters have become nationally recognized celebrities in the entertainment and tabloid media.
Status: Season 5 currently on hiatus.  Produced by Figure 8 Films.

LA INK (REALITY)
Stories from behind the needle this month, just at the original series'(Tm) home, Los Angeles.
Status: Season 3 premiering July, 2009.  Produced by Original Media.

LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD (REALITY)
You know the deal a family of short and "normal-sized" people, livin'(Tm) life.
Status: Season 6 premieres in Fall, 2010.  Produced by Gay Rosenthal Productions

MOVING UP (PROPERTY)
Doug Wilson follows new homeowners as they move into one another's homes, design and renovate, and likely exchange some words.
Status: Season 3 premieres July 21, 2009.  Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions.

MY FIRST HOME (PROPERTY)
Viewers follow first-time home buyers as they journey from scouting to selection and settlement with drama, laughter and tears in between.
Status: Season 4 to premiere in the Fall.  Produced by Authentic Entertainment

SAY YES TO THE DRESS (LIFESTYLE)
Show follows the staff and inner workings of the world's premiere bridal salon in Brooklyn. The selection of the dress, the family dynamics the works.

TEN YEARS YOUNGER (LIFESTYLE)
Fresh out of daytime, this one takes a person, puts them in a glass cage and has people guess their age inevitably older than the person really is.  Then, experts do a clean-up and makeover to bring that number down.
Status: Season 4 completed airing in March, 2009.  Produced by Evolution Media.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR (LIFESTYLE)
Style makeovers, head-to-toe, wardrobe, skin, hair, makeup...personalized by a couple of experts.
Status: Season 7 premiered in May,2009.  Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions.


AUGUST 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE


TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

JON & KATE PLUS 8, CAKE BOSS, 18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE COUPLE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

For nearly a year, TLC has endeavored to grab a schedule that had taken a decidedly feminine, almost 1990s daytime turn, and push it back toward a primetime sensibility that, while skewing female, tried to find men, too. It appears to be working.

But stay tuned. They have relied very, very heavily on Jon & Kate Plus Eight - with many original episodes, tons of repeats and occasional specials. This franchise, which had occupiee enormous tracts of schedule real estate and which seriously juiced the network's ratings, faces an uncertain future. It virtually disappeared from the schedule in July and the absence hurt. In August, it was back, with 26 telecasts, and it helped.

Whether Jon & Kate remains a major force, August saw the very successful premier of POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY. Other familiar titles continue to hold their own. 18 KIDS AND COUNTING, LITTLE COUPLE, CAKE BOSS and MY FIRST HOME will be shows to watch. Whether baking a cake, examining a disease or looking at where we live, weaving family narratives into programs seems to be one of the factors in helping a show pop at TLC.


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

AUGUST 2009 PRIMETIME RATING ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
August 2009 vs. August 2008 (% change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

23%

21%

24%

Tuesday 8-11pm

18%

11%

10%

Wednesday 8-11pm

30%

29%

34%

Thursday 8-11pm

124%

132%

136%

Friday 8-11pm

35%

19%

21%

Saturday 8-11pm

53%

47%

30%

Sunday 8-11pm

16%

17%

12%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

37%

38%

32%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

What a time for TLC. JON & KATE PLUS 8, looking like it might flame out just a few months ago, all but disappeared from the schedule last month. It was disastrous. In July, it ran twice. In August, TLC has brought it back with a vengance - 26 telecasts - and it performed well. Its future may not lead all the way to the horizon, and the numbers don't match last Spring's incredible levels, but it remains a crucial driver of network performance. Month-to-month Households grew by 3%.

The big August highlight is a new series that could lead to the horizon and take some pressure off JON & KATE PLUS 8. August saw the premiere of POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY, and it was strong in all four weeks. It boosted Thursday nightHH 21% overJuly and took four of the month's top twenty telecasts.This will be a fascinating series to track in the months ahead. Thursdays were up in all categories, by significant amounts. Most interesting is that men were up even more than women. Take a look: M18-49 32%, M25-54 33%, F 18-49 20%, F25-54 23%. Huh. Ask your friendly TLC executive what they think about that, next time you bump into her/him!

For critics who think TLC has been asleep at the switch with its very heavy emphasis on JON & KATE PLUS 8 and other heavily populated or medically unusual families, POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY is something new to chew on. Production values and storytelling are at least as good as anything else in this schedule. Casting is excellent. Oddly, this new series finds some connective tissue withthe fish-out-of-water male-oriented gearhead and macho jobs night that it appears, for now to have replaced. Some of the aggressive/assertive on-screen energy remains, but it's strong, admirable women at the center, rather than swaggering men. That male viewers appear to have responded favorably to a show that women like too, bodes well for TLC's ambitions to reach beyond their female core. Finding new viewers without offending the core you have spent blood, sweat and hundreds of millions dollars to build is one of a network executive's greatest challenges. POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY is but one series, and August was only month one. But watch this series and with it, TLC's direction in the months ahead. Like the new-money housewives at Bravo, TLC's hardworking police women may move beyond their city of origin and become a multi-jurisdiction franchise.

For a less theoretical context, consider the TLC schedule's heavy-lifters, by volume: JON & KATE PLUS 8: 26 telecasts, CAKE BOSS: 18 telecasts, POLICE WOMEN OF BROWARD COUNTY: 9 telecasts and WHAT NOT TO WEAR: 8 telecasts. If that's a somewhat crazy salad -- Kids, Cakes, Cops and Clothes - it's more balanced and cohesive than a few months ago, and it's working. Stay tuned.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

The World's Oldest Conjoined Twins (1x60"),  follows 57-yeard-old twins Ronnie and Donnie Gaylon.
From RDF Rights.

The World's Strongest Toddler (1x60"). Centers on three-year-old Liam Hoekstra, who has a genetic condition that increases his muscle strength.
From RDF Rights.

Britain's Tiniest Toddlers, a one-hour documentary on the lives of four primordial dwarves.
From RDF Rights.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

CAKE BOSS (Fall, 2009); THE LITTLEST COUPLE

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced

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