TruTV Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of June 24, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

BLACK GOLD (NON-FICTION)
Wildcatters, Texas oil prospectors searching for riches.  Follows several of them and their crews of roughnecks as they risk hundreds of thousands of dollars and their lives setting up rigs in an attempt to strike oil.
Status: On hiatus.  Produced by Original Productions

COPS (REALITY)
A completely unfiltered look at law enforcement on the streets, COPS changed television by taking cameras into real-life police situations. Each episode travels to a different US city.
Status: Currently airing.  Off-net acquisition.

DOMINICK DUNNE'S POWER, PRIVILEGE AND JUSTICE (NON-FICTION)
The famed Vanity Fair contributor and foremost expert of society's elite, Dominick Dunne shares his unique access to true stories of prominent and powerful people who fall from grace and are brought to justice. (Full Disclosure: CABLEready, sister company of CableU, distributes DOMINICK DUNNE internationally.)
Status: Currently airing.

FORENSIC FILES (NON-FICTION)
Each episode profiles one criminal case and follows forensic experts as they piece together the crime puzzle with every piece of evidence available. (Full Disclosure: CABLEready, sister company of CableU, developed and sold FORENSIC FILES to Court TV/truTV -- and distributes the show interntationally.)
Status: Currently airing.

MOST SHOCKING (REALITY)
Showcases crimes caught on tape; themes include Most Shocking Police Shootouts, Most Shocking Dangerous Drivers and more.
Status: Currently airing.

PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE (NON-FICTION)
Follows school administrators across several schools as they deal with unruly students.
Status: Season 2 currently airing.  Produced by Leftfield Pictures.

PSYCHIC DETECTIVES (NON-FICTION)
Follow real psychics who are employed by the police to help solve crimes; told from the perspective of law enforcement officials.
Status: On hiatus.

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS (NON-FICTION)
Teaming up with the infamous website, experts and entertainers offer commentary as they countdown the dumbest criminals caught on tape.
Status: Currently airing.

SPEEDERS (NON-FICTION)
Following officers coast to coast, get a first-hand look as cops pull over surprised motorists that challenge the speedometer.
Status: Currently airing.

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

OPERATION REPO, COPS, SMOKING GUN PRESENTS, MOST DARING

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS. Since most of their series provide a different take in the area of criminal law and justice, there are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on FORENSIC FILES and a handful of other series dominates 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 MOST SHOCKING, 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 has been replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While the existing base of crime series continues, new programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, poolside waitresses in Las Vegas, and repo men.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** June 13 - MAN VS CARTOON

MAY 2009 RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Last month we said "we're anticipating strong year to year increases in May.  We'll likely see a fade from April, but the size of the fade will dictate a solid month or trouble on the horizon."  We were on target with the monthly increases.  Target men were up 16% and 3% for the 18-49 and 25-54 demo breaks respectively.  Households were down as older viewers dropped off, lowering the median age by 8% compared to the same period in 2008.

While the year on year increases were strong, the month to month shifts were a little troubling.  We noted the fade from April was expected, but the size of the fade tells the story.  Both male demos fell 16% from April, much larger than we would like to see, and a bigger drop than the same time last year.

Once again OPERATION REPO is the focal point.  The Monday premieres have been especially strong, but the myriad number of repeats continue to resonate.  The series makes up the Top 11 telecasts and 16 of the top 20 for the month.  So far, the network has resisted the urge to overschedule the hot property, leaving it to Monday night stacks and a couple of Tuesday repeats.

FORENSIC FILES is the only other series to feature premieres in May.  Men were up slightly over last year, but women were down 15% or more.  As the network transitions towards a male skew, FORENSIC remains one of the few series that leans female.  If the series remains in a stacked form on Fridays, it could use a more compatible lead-in, maybe even a third hour of itself.

Everything else took the month off in terms of premieres, giving way to broadcast sweeps.  SMOKING GUN held down  the #2 spot for original series, reinforcing its anchor position on the schedule.  WORLD'S WILDEST and SPEEDERS were modest to below average for the month. 

MOST DARING and MOST SHOCKING anchor Wednesday, but can be found all over the schedule.  Both series were just about average in May with a batch of repeats. 

Saturdays were up big time for the 2nd month in a row with a line-up of series from the new network brand.  (SPEEDERS, WILDEST, SMOKING GUN).  Amazing what a few repeats can do when they match the brand.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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