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BET Analysis


The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday. The practice of scattering encores throughout the week has been curbed, giving movies a dominant, if not prominent role. Sunday night is an ever-changing mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.


Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2012 vs. July 2011  (% Change)

*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2012: This is undoubtedly BET's lightest programming month in years. The net has scaled back on its program offerings all year, relying on just two programs, THE GAME and LETS STAY TOGETHER for most of 2012. But both of those half hour comedies came to an end last month, and there was nothing there to replace them. Tuesdays, which are typically BET's signature night, were without an original program in repeats OR as a premiere. There were only two things besides movies happening at BET this July: the return of SUNDAY BEST and the annual BET AWARDS SHOW, and those both aired on Sundays.

Without any draws, ratings were down by double digits every single weeknight. Movies were basically all that was there to fill the line-up. Saturday showed some growth, but it was pretty much Sunday's performance that put the year over year rating difference into the positive numbers.

Saturday achieved its growth solely on the strength of another telecast of an airing of Love and Basketball Movie and a second encore of THE BET AWARDS SHOW. Typically, BET will not only air 5-6 primetime encores of its annual awards show, it will take advantage of the show's huge live audience to introduce a new original program. Neither of these things happened this year.

The good news is, the annual show did not fall down, and again produced BET's best ratings of the year. According to BET press releases, "BET AWARDS '12 drew 7.4 million viewers. The show, which featured performances by Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Melanie Fiona - as well as a tribute to the late Whitney Houston - fell short of 7.7 million viewers for the BET Awards 11, but was up over the show's 2010 edition."

The fifth edition of SUNDAY BEST, airing on Sunday nights, also brought good news to the net, as that program again drew strong numbers, particularly among core women.

And so, the network is extraordinarily heavily stacked on Sunday nights. To illustrate the point, Sunday's women 18-49 ratings are 216% higher than Tuesday's, the next-best rated night, and 202% better than the primetime average. If all five of the Monday through Friday average audience performances were added up, they would equal the Sunday night audience.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things are picking up soon. BET announced its fall line-up in August, but the only announcement for BET's primetime was a reality show, KEYSHIA & DANIEL: FAMILY FIRST.