Sunday through Wednesday is TNT's primary focus, where the network has attempted to run original series throughout the year. NBA runs on Thursdays, when it's the 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).
FEBRUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FEBRUARY 2012: Things turned around quickly for TNT last month as NBA came back, bringing TNT’s eroding audiences back with it. But it all turned around again this February. NBA ratings reversed course and there wasn’t too much else on the schedule to bulk up the numbers. Adult 25-54 ratings were down on every night vs. last year for a bottom-line decline of 10%.
Starting with Mondays, last month saw the winter-season finales of THE CLOSER and RIZZOLI & ISLES. THE MENTALIST took their place, and although it has a more balanced male/female skew than those programs, or even LAW & ORDER, it does not draw big audiences either. Women 25-54 audiences made Mondays their best-rated night in January and the lowest-rated night in February.
Tuesdays arguably brought the biggest success of the month to TNT. SOUTHLAND was the only returning program from last month or last year to grow adult ratings. The program grew audience, particular among men, vs. its premiere last month and usually against the testosterone-laden theatricals it gets as a lead-in (Four Brothers, American Gangster).
Wednesdays are home to LAW & ORDER, which was not even on TNT’s air last February. BONES ran on Wednesdays last year, and apparently audiences preferred it to L&O. Wednesday nights took the biggest year over year declines, down 30% on adults 18-49 and 23% on adults 25-54, with women driving the dive.
Movies took a back seat to NBA this month. Shooter and I Am Legend were the best performers of the theatricals. As expected, NBA ALL STAR games and shows dominated the top of the ratings charts. However, NBA fever has waned. Core men 18-49 ratings for regular games were off by 17% vs. last month and by 20% vs. last year. ALL STAR programming was off as well – ALL STAR GAME underperformed by 79% vs. last year, NBA ALL STAR SATURDAY NIGHT underperformed by 21% and NBA TIP OFF underperformed by 12%.