USA Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009 - Broadcasting & Cable

USA Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

Author:
Publish date:

PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 23, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

BURN NOTICE (DRAMA)
A blacklisted spy returns to his hometown of Miami to solve crimes while trying to find his betrayer.
Status: Third season premiered Thursday June 4 @ 9PM. 16 x 60. Produced by Fox Television Studios / Fuse Entertainment

HOUSE (DRAMA)
Medical drama following the acerbic Doctor House and his hospital team (Off Fox).
Status: A USA primetime staple. Produced by Heel and Toe Films, Universal Media Studios.

IN PLAIN SIGHT
(DRAMA)
Series follows the life of a U.S. Marshal as she helps people in the witness protection program, while coping with her own erratic family.
Status: Second season currently on-air, premiered 4/19. 12 x 60. Produced by Universal Media Studios / Pirates Cove Entertainment

LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT
(DRAMA)
The third installment of the network franchise focuses on law officers forced to make ambiguous decisions when bringing criminals to justice.
Status: Season 8 currently on-air, premiered 4/19. 16 x 60. Produced by Universal Media Studios / Wolf Films

MONK
(DRAMA)
Series revolves around a private detective who also has OCD and multiple phobias.
Status: Season 8 premieres Fridays at 9PM on 8/7. Produced by Universal Media Studios / Mandeville Films / ABC Studios

NCIS (DRAMA)
Criminal investigation drama revolving around a team of special agents assigned to solving crimes connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  (Off CBS)
Status: A USA primetime staple. Produced by CBS Televisions Studios - Network TV / Belisarius Productions

PSYCH
(DRAMA)
A man fakes being a psychic but is recruited to the police force when people believe that his powers are real.
Status: Season 4 premieres Fridays @ 10 on 8/7. Produced by Universal Media Studios / Tagline Pictures

ROYAL PAINS (DRAMA)
A young doctor becomes a concierge doctor to the Hampton's elite.
Status Debut Thursday June 11 @ 10PM. 11x60. Produced by Universal Media Studios, NBC Universal Cable Studio, USA Network.

WWE RAW (SPORTING)
World Wrestling matches feature pro wrestlers in action.
Status: A Monday night regular on USA. Produced by World Wrestling Entertainment


JULY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

WWE, ROYAL PAINS, BURN NOTICE


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

USA is all about consistency. The network is extraordinarily consistent month-to-month and week-to-week, making it easy for viewers to, well view. They know what to find and when to tune-in.

HOUSE and NCIS have replaced SVU as the glue that holds the network together; they dominate the line-up with strips and three-hour primetime blocks. Other than that, WWE always runs on Monday nights, and preferred nights for original series are Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Movies have taken a back seat lately, with a diminished presence on the primetime line-up, although movie package purchasing is somewhat active.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

MONK season 8 premiere Friday August 7 @ 9PM
PSYCH season 4 premiere Friday August 7 @ 10PM

RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

21%

3%

10%

Tuesday 8-11pm

12%

35%

29%

Wednesday 8-11pm

57%

35%

61%

Thursday 8-11pm

41%

22%

38%

Friday 8-11pm

-43%

-23%

-32%

Saturday 8-11pm

15%

5%

14%

Sunday 8-11pm

-25%

-26%

-22%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

7%

2%

7%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

July marked another strong month for USA, as the network continued in its #1 spot among all cable networks. According to the network's PR, it topped its year-ago ratings for the 11th straight month. However, there are some negative stories as well. Compared to the extraordinarily strong June, there were audience losses every night. Median audience age crept up to an all-time high, actually topping 50 for the first time on our records.

WWE remains a solid lead to the week, regaining its top spot in the ratings among households and men. Last month the WWE and Donald Trump helped spike the ratings with a media hoax. This month the numbers fell by less than 10 percent, but were still above where they had been. Compared to last year the franchise lost 6% of men 18-49 and was even on men 25-54 ratings.

HOUSE filled three of four Tuesday nights plus a Thursday, a Friday and a Saturday night. Tuesdays are up dramatically vs. last year when LAW & ORDER: SVU dominated the night. However, HOUSE continues its descent. It is down 12% among adults 18-49 and down 11% on adults 25-54 vs. last month. It is the lowest rated program on the line-up, and is even topped by movies on most demos this month, not a good sign for the future of HOUSE.

On the other hand, NCIS continues to pop. While it is down by about 10% vs. the stellar June performance, it has increased ratings over last year by more than 50%.

BURN NOTICE is an exceptionally strong player on USA. Each consecutive week this July brought higher ratings for the original series. According to USA, BURN NOTICE was July's top scripted series for P25-54 in all of television, broadcast or cable, delivering 3.19 million in that key demo, more than any other scripted series airing new episodes. BURN NOTICE also delivered more P18-49 (2.79 million) and P18-34 (1.23 million) than any series running original episodes in basic cable prime. It all culminated with the season finale on August 6 at 9p, averaging 7.6 million total viewers, making it the most-watched series telecast in the network's history. (That record was previously held by the premiere of THE 4400 on July 11, 2004).

ROYAL PAINS is up next at 10PM on Thursdays, and continues as the season's strongest new cable series. For the record, it does show double digit declines vs. last month's premiere (along with BURN NOTICE). However, more times than not it builds on the BURN NOTICE lead-in, and continues to set its own records.

On the last two Sundays of the month, USA brought back old episodes of LAW & ORDER: SVU to lead into the new eps of CI. SVU outpaced former lead-in HOUSE by a solid margin, but more significantly, it actually topped the new episode of CI among women 18-49! While CI ratings showed slight improvement vs. last month, they are down by over 20% on demo vs. last year. No renewal announcements have been made for the program.

IN PLAIN SIGHT follows on Sundays at 10PM with ratings that are marginally ahead of CI. It follows a similar ratings pattern as well, with single digit improvements over last month and over 20% losses vs. last year. A renewal announcement HAS been made for IN PLAIN SIGHT.

With its deep stable of original programming and off-network fare, USA should continue its success through the summer and beyond.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

In February 2009 USA Network acquired the exclusive network television premiere rights to the 2009 Universal Pictures' film slate. The deal is considered to be one of the largest of its kind between a film studio and basic cable network. USA will receive two dozen of the studios' films, including Duplicity with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, Fast & Furious with Vin Diesel, State of Play with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell, Public Enemies with Johnny Depp, Funny People with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, Couples Retreat with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, Green Zone (working title) with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear and the upcoming untitled Nancy Meyers film with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Other titles include, Atonement with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, Away We Go with John Krasinski and Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Boat That Rocked with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emma Thompson, Cirque du Freak with Salma Hayek and Jane Krakowski, Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, Flash of Genius with Greg Kinnear, Frost/Nixon with Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, The Limits of Control with Bill Murray and John Hurt, Milk with Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, Ethan and Joel Cohen's A Serious Man, Taking Woodstock with Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber, Traveling with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, and 9 with Elijah Wood and John C. Reilly.

Movie deals from 2008 include:
After the movie premiered, USA picked up the cable rights to air The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian from Disney ABC Domestic TV for approx. $15million. The 4 and a half-year contract for the movie begins September 2010.

A deal with Paramount will bring Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to USA, in addition to the first three entries in the series.

A New Line TV deal includes ten movies, three of which were pre-buys (Sex and the City: The Movie, Semi-Pro and He's Just Not That Into You). The seven other movies are The Golden Compass, Rendition, Running Scared, El Cantante, Martian Child, The Number 23 and Shoot 'Em Up.

USA is scheduled to air The Golden Compass in July 2010, Semi-Pro in September 2010, Sex and the City: The Movie in January 2011 and He's Just Not That Into You in March 2011.

USA has also agreed with Disney-ABC Domestic TV for the rights to Oscar winner No Country For Old Men, Enchanted and National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

And for those keeping track, USA likes its sequels, with four Raiders, three Pirates of the Caribbeans, two National Treasures, one Ocean's and one Bourne on its increasingly deep bench.

Back in 2007 the net purchased Underdog, My Boss'(Tm) Daughter and Bad Company, all slated to air after 2010.

USA and SciFi signed a $20 million Lionsgate package that includes 3:10 to Yuma (Early 2010), Good Luck Chuck (2010), Employee of the Month (2010) and Jason Statham titles War (2010), Crank (2009) and Chaos (2009).

Other deals include New Line's Hairspray (the 2007 version) for a four-year window beginning in 2010. Also Ocean's 13 (a competitive move after Ocean's 11 kept popping on TNT), License to Wed and Blood Diamond, all from Warner.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

IN PLAIN SIGHT renewed for a third season. 16 x 60.

WWE RAW has received a multi-year renewal, keeping the top-rated series on USA through 2010.

BURN NOTICE renewed for a fourth season.

ROYAL PAINS renewed for a second season.


PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced recently.

Related