TruTV Analysis

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Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS.  There are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on OPERATION REPO, comedic video clip properties, and a handful of other series dominate the schedule.

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network created a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  The additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like OPERATION REPO, they have moved it into a regular timeslot.

With the transition of the network to TruTv at the beginning of 2008, the crime and investigation focus was replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While a small base of crime series continues,  programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, poolside waitresses in Las Vegas, and repo men.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)




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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

This April, truTV fell in the month-to-month ratings but enjoyed a small jump among men compared to last year.  The two biggest success stories of the month belong to the perennially popular HARDCORE PAWN and IMPRACTICAL JOKERS.

HARDCORE PAWN continues to be truTV’s central attraction and has done wonders for lowering the age of the network’s average viewer.  With a current median age of 41, the network has come a long way since rebranding from Court TV.

Even with 38 telecasts throughout the month of April, PAWN still claimed the top spot for truTV.  Thanks to PAWN, Tuesdays (which were the highest rated night of the week) were up 13% among the 25-54 demographic compared to last year.

Nothing really came close to touching PAWN – the show stole the top seven telecasts spots for the month, meaning two of the program’s reruns were more popular than anything else aired on the network.

IMPRACTICAL JOKERS, which premiered in December of last year, has been slowly building an audience for itself.  The show, which aired new episodes on Thursdays, had only one less telecast than PAWN and earned very respectable numbers.  Thursdays were the network’s second biggest night, which enjoyed a 15% bump from last year among men aged 18-49.  Last year, Thursday nights featured TRUTV PRESENTS, WORLD’S DUMBEST, and TOP 20 MOST SHOCKING.

Both TOP 20 MOST SHOCKING and WORLD’S DUMBEST were present in April’s lineup, but failed to make much of a splash.

Along with PAWN and JOKERS, SOUTH BEACH TOW was the only other show to crack the network’s top 20 list.  While ratings were down for the show, TOW held its own among men in both key demographics on Wednesdays.

WIENERS CIRCLE stayed steady for the most part, holding on to the majority of its viewers from the month before.  The show was given a stellar lead-in (HARDCORE PAWN) on Tuesday nights and was understandably unable to retain a good deal of PAWN’s viewers.

Though truTV is known for playing in a fairly contained sandbox (generally limiting themselves to themes such as pawning, repossession, and other assorted blue collar reality) the network has begun to buck its self-imposed strictures.  NOT SAFE FOR WORK is a slight departure (though still reminiscent of other clip shows on the network) from truTV’s usual fare.

Unfortunately the clip show (which also spotlights the production crew compiling the clips), gained little traction over the course of its three-episode run this passed April.

Nevertheless, WORK still managed to beat out reruns of STORAGE HUNTERS, which posted the network’s weakest numbers.