TNT Performance/Schedule Analysis - September 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of October 21, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54

SEPTEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

THE CLOSER, RAISING THE BAR, LAW & ORDER

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

There are usually stacks of female-skewing crime dramas Monday through Wednesday, NBA on Thursdays, when it's the season, and blockbuster, mostly-male-oriented theatricals Friday to Sunday. Premiere night of original dramas, when they are running, has been relegated to Mondays for now. LAW & ORDER is the glue that fills in the holes.

In the future, TNT has announced a big move toward originals in primetime. They plan to have three nights (Monday - Wednesday) of original programming, including dramas and non-scripted fare,  throughout the year by 2010.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

AUGUST - SEPTEMBER:

Of course the big change this month was the premiere of the new legal drama from Stephen Bocchco, RAISING THE BAR on Monday nights at 10PM. THE CLOSER pretty much stuck to Monday nights this month even after the season finale on the 15th. LAW & ORDER ran on Tuesdays instead of THE CLOSER encores.  BONES and COLD CASE made just one appearance each this month.  And movies pretty much replaced LAW & ORDER on Thursdays.

SEPTEMBER:
PREMIERES:
** Sept 1, 2008 @ 10PM: Series debut of RAISING THE BAR

FINALES:
** September 15: THE CLOSER

OCTOBER & BEYOND:
PREMIERES:

** December 2008: LEVERAGE
** January 2009: TRUST ME

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:
Bottom-line, TNT's audience was just about on par with last year's, basically even on women and just slightly off on men (-3%) and households (-5%).

Mondays continue to be the big night on TNT (especially in the off-NBA season). This year's new series, RAISING THE BAR plus a mix of premieres and encores of THE CLOSER brought in nearly the same exact audience levels as last year. But, the September '08 finale of THE CLOSER pulled in nearly one million less households than last year's September finale. Core women audiences were off by about 15%.

Weekday staple LAW & ORDER seems to be losing some steam among core women viewers as well. Numbers are off by about ten percent for women, and about minus five percent among men.

Weekend movies had a better female appeal this year than last, and that is what helped to pull up the bottom line. TNT stalwarts such as Last Holiday and Wedding Crashers saved the month.

SEPTEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

As was the case with most of cable, TNT's ratings recovered from the stiff Olympics competition of last month. The hardest hit genre was movies, and they have bounced back nicely.

But let's start at the beginning of the week. Monday nights brought us the close of THE CLOSER and the start of RAISING THE BAR.  While THE CLOSER finale fell down vs. last year (see above), the network wisely pulled all of those encores from Tuesday, and as a whole the program did much better in September than it did in August, up about +30% on core women audiences. RAISING THE BAR came in strong on Labor Day, on the coattails of THE CLOSER. It proceeded to lose audience each week, particularly at the end of the month when THE CLOSER went into repeats and the broadcast networks went into full gear. Nonetheless, the program is a top performer for the network and all of cable, and has already been renewed for a second season. It fits well with TNT's female-skewing- crime-drama filled weekdays.

On Tuesdays TNT brought us wall-to-wall LAW & ORDER, which significantly improved both male and female audiences for the night (household audience rose just +4%).

Wednesdays were relatively flat for households and men, but women increased by more than +15%. Again, there was a heavy dose of LAW & ORDER, which lead the charge. It's worth an aside to note that USA substantially cut back on their runs of LAW & ORDER: SVU this month in favor of HOUSE. Safe to assume there is a cause and effect here.

Thursday through Sunday was all about the movies, which as we mentioned before, showed nice improvements vs. last month. Of note, Saturday's women 18-49 audience climbed by +70%.

While THE CLOSER, RAISING THE BAR and LAW & ORDER had the top ten household telecasts covered, two movies titles were in the top twenty this month: Last Holiday and Men In Black II.

And that's your TNT for September. Is this a network poised to bring us three nights of original programming as promised? Stay tuned.

ADDITIONAL RATINGS INFORMATION:

According to TNT, SAVING THE BAR's commercial-free Labor Day premiere pulled in 7.7 million viewers and 5.7 million households. That puts the new Stephen Bocchco drama as the #1 ad-supported cable new series launch of all time. (USA's IN PLAIN SIGHT launched earlier this year with 5.2 million viewers.)

THE CLOSER finale on September 15th pulled in 7.6 million viewers and 2.4 million adults 18-49.

ACQUISITIONS:

TNT and sister network TBS are joining the crowds on signing up for theatrical prebuys, locking up the cable-TV rights to four high-visibility movies set for release by New Line and Picturehouse later this year: The Women, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again and the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy Four Christmases.

TBS, TNT and their Cartoon Network also signed a 12-title blockbuster deal with Warner Bros. that will funnel 10,000 B.C., The Dark Knight, Get Smart and three other prebuys to their primetime schedules throughout 2010 and 2011.

The Clone Wars, the CGI Animated film debuted August 15th 2008 was slated to become a weekly series on both Cartoon Network and TNT this fall, but so far only Cartoon Network has the program on its schedule.

A $12 million Lionsgate movie package was sold to TNT and sister network TBS, and includes titles such as Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's Little Girls, Bernie Mac's Pride and Bill Engvall's Delta Force.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RAISING THE BAR, SAVING GRACE, THE CLOSER


PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING

Programs filling out the rest of the day are primarily off-net one-hour dramas, otherwise known as "Primetime in the Daytime," and include ANGEL, CHARMED, ER, LAS VEGAS and WITHOUT A TRACE.

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