Sunday through Wednesday is TNT's primary focus, where the network has attempted to run original series throughout the year. BONES and LAW & ORDER are dominant on the schedule, trying to hold up the Monday through Wednesday originals. NBA runs on Thursdays, when it's the season (or when there IS a season), otherwise it's an off-net crime drama and/or a movie. Theatricals dominate Friday and Saturday, plus Sundays when originals are not running.
TNT’s high profile original series tend to run in the summer months and in December, when the broadcast nets are in hiatus or repeat mode. When the broadcast nets are in full swing, such as sweep months or the beginning of the new seasons, TNT benches its best shows, saving them for when they can shine. TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies executive vice president and head of programming Michael Wright said the Turner services typically hold their new and returning series premieres until December and early January to avoid the marketplace clutter. “I’m not that anxious to get into that September to early November period — not that I don’t believe in our programming, but it’s just too crowded a field,” he said. “With all the broadcast premieres and the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to market all of that, it’s not a place where you want to take a newborn and try to have it thrive. I will let others charge that hill for now.” (MULTICHANNEL NEWS).
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: NBA is back and so is TNT. With the lockout over, the net is back to a male skew, year over year ratings are back down to single digit percentage declines (mostly), and median age is back under 50. Most of all, Thursday night ratings are back up… men 18-49 ratings were up by 856% vs. last month. You don’t see that kind of growth very often; it’s amazing what a multi-million dollar live sporting event can do for your bottom-line. Apparently basketball fans are not holding a grudge; NBA’s average rating on TNT is up by 43% vs. last year.
But mostly, things are back to normal. Adult ratings are up vs. last month on every night but Monday, with the Monday-Sunday average improving by 60% for men 18-49 and 33% for men 25-54. Women 18-49 ratings lifted December’s average by 19% while women 25-54 grew by just 3%. Compared to last January household and male ratings are basically flat while women are down by about 10%.
TNT’s two most watched and highest profile programs, THE CLOSER and RIZZOLI & ISLES ran their season finale episode on Monday 12/26, pulling in the highest ratings of the month, particularly with their core older female audience. This season’s finale ratings of THE CLOSER were slightly below last season’s. (RIZZOLI was in repeats this time last year). Monday nights pulled in the largest women 25-54 audiences, but their ratings for the night were down vs. last month and last year, creating the biggest drag on the bottom line. The female decline was due to fewer new episodes of THE CLOSER, a program switch to THE MENTALIST and a night of NBA.
SOUTHLAND returned on Tuesday 1/17 for its fourth season premiere. Compared to last year the program lost about 10% of men and held women. It received strong theatrical lead-ins (Bourne Ultimatum, Shawshank Redemption), losing some men and gaining some women from the movies. With this shift, SOUTHLAND now skews more female than male.
Wednesday nights in January consisted of back to back LAW & ORDERs followed by an encore of the previous Sunday night’s premiere of LEVERAGE. Apparently repeats of L&O hold up better than repeats of LEVERAGE – the TNT lost audience from its lead-in across the board every Wednesday night. For its Sunday night premieres, LEVERAGE was strong, growing audience from its lead-in, despite being wedged between movies. The program performed better when airing with a companion original program.
Weekend movies this year featured Law Abiding Citizen, which (not surprisingly) did not measure up to last year’s blockbusters The Dark Knight and Transformers.
The annual SAG AWARDS aired live on Sunday January 29th and while women ratings held from last year men 18-49 were way off (-19%). The culprit was an exciting football game over on NBC. Which goes to prove that networks that live by the sword (live, big-ticket sporting events), die by the sword.