The schedule is built around a handful of key series at 9pm or 10pm, complemented by repeats of the same on the same night. Mondays in March was BIZARRE FOODS AMERICA and HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE night, following the finale of LAYOVER last month. Tuesdays were more BIZARRE FOODS, paired with freshman series ARMED AND READY. More originals on Wednesday with MAN VS. FOOD and FOOD PARADISES. Thursdays in March featured stacked episodes of MYSTERIES AT THE MUSEUM. Fridays and Saturdays were paranormal-themed, with a lineup of GHOST ADVENTURES and DEAD FILES, while Sundays closed out the week with a variety of programming.
MARCH 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2013 vs March 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
With the recent announcement of the renewals of several of Travel Channel's original series (AIRPORT 24/7: MIAMI, BAGGAGE BATTLES, BIZARRE FOODS AMERICA, DANGEROUS GROUNDS, THE DEAD FILES, GHOST ADVENTURES, HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE, and MYSTERIES AT THE MUSEUM), the network is making it clear that they believe strongly in their original series and current direction. March's numbers were strong overall, though some nights of the week did see year-to-year losses.
February saw the end of Anthony Bourdain's run on the network, and with it, saw a drop in viewers in March, compared to both last month and last year. For most of the month, BIZARRE FOODS and HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE hovered below average, and the night has become one of the lower-rated of the week for Travel.
New series ARMED & READY debuted in late February and anchored the Tuesday night schedule in the 10pm and 10:30pm timeslots, leading out of BIZARRE FOODS AMERICA and EXTREME RVs. The freshman series struggled all month and never was able to hit average. The show was gone from the schedule by the end of March. Overall, Tuesday nights were down 23% compared to March 2012.
New series FEED THE BEAST debuted on Wednesday 3/6 to low numbers, and was quickly gone from the primetime schedule. BEST SANDWICH IN AMERICA and FOOD PARADISES fared slightly better, the night overall was down compared to last year.
For another month, Thursdays were one of the strongest of the week for Travel Channel. The night was up 64% compared to March 2012 as stacked episodes of MYSTERIES AT THE MUSEUM scored above average in nearly every airing. The series overall is up 25% compared to its performance in March 2012. This is one franchise that isn't showing any signs of slowing.
Friday's and Saturday's strong year-to-year growth was fueled by the paranormal-themed GHOST ADVENTURES and DEAD FILES. GHOST ADVENTURES and DEAD FILES both scored well above average.
Sundays in March were down 17% compared to last year. There were solid performances by MEGA RV COUNTDOWN, but not much else managed to score above average.
With a renewed commitment to original series, and several new shows slated to debut in the coming months, Travel is strongly attempting to win back their audience - no easy feat, given the competition for character-driven entertainment programming in the cable landscape. Look for more originals to come in the remainder of 2013.