DECEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
VH1 continues to have success with home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. NEW YORK GOES TO WORK featuring a former FLAVOR OF LOVE contestant.) VH1's primetime lineup is very fluid in nature, leading to a lot of "Various" programs on their schedule grid.
VH1 will occasionally stack night of programming and air episodes of the same show back-to-back-to-back. This can prove extremely successful for them, especially when they use these mini-marathons to premiere the latest episodes of their original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each epsidoe premieres.
Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new epsiodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries.
DECEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2009 vs. December 2008 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Unlike September and October which were essentially flat with last year, November and December were down significantly from the corresponding period in 2008. In December, four nights experienced double-digit HH and demo losses from the same month last year, although the week as a whole was essentially flat with last month's HH and demo delivery.
Only three Prime timeslots enjoyed uninterrupted series scheduling - Monday's tandem of FOR THE LOVE OF RAY JAY 2 and I WANT TO WORK FOR DIDDY 2, along with the SU/9p run of TOUGH LOVE 2. With the final 4 episodes of RAY JAY 2 at 9p on Mondays leading the pack, the DIDDY series benefited from VH1's strongest lead-in of the week, propelling both series into the top slots for audience delivery for the month.
Tuesdays featured a mixed bag of series and specials, with repeats of TOUGH LOVE 2 and FOR THE LOVE OF RAY J 2 earning top honors for the evening.
Movies and blocks of series (the ubquitous RAY JAY 2) and specials (100 GREATEST SONGS OF THE '90'S) filled Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Each night experienced significant demo losses from last year, when the final episodes fo CELEBRITY REHAB dominated the mid-week ratings.
Movie-centric Saturday benefited from a double-run of REMEMBER THE TITANS, which took top movie honors for the Network in December, especially for younger men. Also helped by a run of AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, the Saturday movie block earned 36% growth over December 2008's RM18-49, making Saturday the only night to grow in the overall 18-49 demo.
The final episodes of TOUGH LOVE 2 replaced TOOL ACADEMY 2 at 9p as Sunday's top offering ( #3 for VH1 overall) combined with premiere episodes of SEX REHAB WITH DR. DREW at 10p to out-deliver VH1's key demo rating averages by 60% for the month. SEX REHAB did a good job of holding the TOUGH LOVE lead-in at 10p, retaining 80% of the RA18-49 for the month.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
VH1 has been extremely successful in the creation of an entirely new genre of programming. Coining the phrase Celebreality, Vh1 has created several hit shows revolving around celebrities, past and present, and their "real" lives.
So now, the task at hand is to determine how they can expand beyond what's expected - and reach out to an even broader audience. It's great to have programs that are celebrity-based, but anything that has amazing characters, tells a good story, and does it in a compelling way, is going to interest the net. Recently, VH1 has expanded into the original M.O.W. realm, with their first original feature being produced by Queen Latifah's production company, Favor Unit.
VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success. The network, however, continues to expand upon their brand to bring unique documentaries and interesting pop culture and music-related series to air.
VH1 has said that they are actively looking for documentaries in their ROCK DOC block. They are looking for "intimate stories," "iconic characters" (namely 60s and 70s icons), and intelligent documentaries that aren't afraid to take chances. Think "big stories" told through a "small narrative," too.
In addition, they're looking to expand beyond just Celebreality. TOOL ACADEMY and THE PICK-UP ARTIST were a fairly big successes for the network and they're looking for the next version of those series.