TNT Analysis



TNT’s signature original series run Sunday through Wednesday, when they are running. Off-network procedurals such as THE MENTALIST are dominant on the schedule, leading into the originals, or airing as three-hour stacks.  Action dramas that can draw male viewers such as SOUTHALND and LEVERAGE have been getting movies as lead-ins. 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.

Two returning shows, DALLAS and SOUTHLAND, plus two new shows (medical drama MONDAY MORNINGS and unscripted series BOSTON'S FINEST) will premiere in January and February. Which doesn't sound that extraordinary until you consider that TNT’s long-standing strategy was to run high profile original series 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 typically benches its best shows, saving them for when they can stand out. The net is now aiming to schedule through-out most of the year in 2013.

In addition to the longer programming cycle, there will be a bigger and more well-rounded slate of programming that features reality, competition and maybe even docu-soaps in addition to the usual dramatic scripted fare. The action-adventure reality competitions and crime and investigation formats TNT is going for can be nicely scheduled to complement TNT’s movies and crime dramas.


Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2012 vs November 2011  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NOVEMBER 2012:  There was plenty of good news to go around at TNT this month. For men the NBA was back in full force, with no signs of a strike ahead. Movies were strong with a decent ratings boost from Clash of the Titans, Transformers and Bourne Ultimatum. For women there was some nice NBA co-viewing and easy-to-find stacks of RIZZOLI on Tuesdays and CASTLE on Wednesdays. Women also enjoyed Clash of the Titans, Transformers and War of the Worlds.

Bottom line, TNT saw modest growth with women and big growth with men (NBA) vs. both last year and last month.

One of the bigger drags on the bottom line was Monday nights, where THE MENTALIST has moved in for a full three-hour stack, replacing any sign of a TNT original. When one or more of the high-profile crime dramas is in place, Mondays are the best-rated night of the week. With just THE MENTALIST this November, ratings for the night were the weakest of the week.

The best-rated night was Tuesday, but that was not from RIZZOLI, but from an extra night of NBA action.

The stack (tower?) of CASTLE showed improved ratings on Wednesdays with a 9% improvement vs. last month on core women 25-54. (Coincidentally, RIZZOLI's program average actually showed the same exact percentage improvement.) On Thanksgiving Thursday there was a special CASTLE stack, which underperformed the usual Wednesday night ratings.

And the rest of the week was all about movies. TNT is gearing up to bring back its original series. Coming off a mostly-successful summer, there will be a heavier rotation and a broader range of genres than the network has ever tried before. But for now, TNT is in the quiet shoulder season.