TruTV Analysis

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Original series dominate truTV's primetime schedule.   On a given night, a single original series will tend to run in a solid block throughout primetime.  There's a heavy reliance on blue collar reality (HARDCORE PAWN, OPERATION REPO, etc), while comedic video clip properties and a handful of other series fill out the remainder of the schedule.

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network creates a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  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 move it into a regular timeslot.

Since its 2008 rebranding, truTV has maintained a dedication to reality programming with a special focus on repo and pawning.  Recently the network has incorporated more unscripted comedy to complement its existing reality fare.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison March 2013 vs. March 2012 (% Change)




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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Following a strong showing in February, truTV slipped 7% in both the monthly and yearly ratings this March among men 18 – 49.  As in 2012, truTV aired NCAA tournament games in conjunction with TNT, TBS, and CBS.  Among men 25 – 54, ratings were respectively down 8% and 14% from a monthly and yearly standpoint.

Despite the network’s overall decline in ratings, response for the tournament was enthusiastic.  Viewership for the games featured on truTV was up from last year and four of the NCAA telecasts placed within the network’s top ten.

The network suffered from having its workhorse HARDCORE PAWN caught between seasons for most of the month.  The popular show only aired a single new episode in March.  While the sole episode (the seventh season premiere) performed impressively for the network, the show’s absence was felt.

PAWN’s premiere episode was the network’s most watched telecast of the month – edging out truTV’s popular UNLV vs California NCAA game among men 18 – 49.  Unfortunately, PAWN’s single, well-received episode was unable to keep Tuesday nights from dropping 17% among men 18  - 49 from both a monthly and yearly perspective.

Elsewhere, the entirety of truTV’s returning schedule was down from February with the exception of FULL THROTTLE SALOON.  SALOON closed out its fourth season, airing the final two episodes of its current run.  While both fared well with men 18 – 49, the finale was especially strong – the final episode was the ninth most watched telecast in the demo.

LIZARD LICK TOWING continued into its fourth season this March.  Compared to last month, LIZARD was down 7% with men 18 – 49 as well as 25 – 54.  This drop in viewership was skewed somewhat by an uptick of reruns however.  In both February and March, TOWING aired four premiere episodes.  The number of total telecasts, however, shot up from 28 to 37.  Nevertheless, a comparison of premiere episodes shows that LIZARD was down from that standpoint as well.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS GONE WILD closed out its six episode first season on a low note.  The program was down 13% among men 18 – 49 and 23% among men 25 – 54.  Additionally, the season finale garnered the series its lowest numbers to date.

Things were worse for fellow new show UPLOAD WITH SHAQUILLE O’NEAL.  SHAQ was down 33% and 38% among men 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively from last month.  It was an ill-afforded drop in viewership considering the poor showing SHAQ experienced in February. While truTV has made concerted effort to foster programming outside of the trade based reality sphere, it has not found much success in the endeavor.