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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 ended, 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 / August 2012 vs. August 2011  (% Change)

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

AUGUST 2012: Just when we thought BET’s primetime programming roster couldn’t get any lighter, along came August. The line-up has been lean and mean all year, with LET’S STAY TOGETHER and THE GAME as the only regularly scheduled Tuesday night programming since January. The two half-hour sitcoms came to an end in June, and there was nothing in the hopper ready to replace them. July skated by on the strength of the signature THE BET AWARDS SHOW, plus a strong showing of SUNDAY BEST.

This August, all that is left is SUNDAY BEST. The rest of the line-up is entirely comprised of movies, with the un-notable single encores of THE BET AWARDS SHOW and THE GAME. There was also a surprise hour of KEY AND PEELE on the last Tuesday of the month. KEY AND PEELE is a successful program on BET’s sister network, Comedy Central. However, the success didn’t carry over to BET as the program dropped about half of its lead-in audience (The Cookout) and delivered ratings well below the primetime average.

SUNDAY BEST is the only thing to talk about at BET this month. The program runs in a straight stack on Sunday nights, pushing Sundays to the highest ratings and the oldest audience of the week. According to BET, the September 2nd finale “set records for the network, delivering 2.6 million viewers on Sunday, September 2nd, making it the #1 SUNDAY BEST telecast in BET Networks history.” The series as a whole set a lot of records as well, according to BET, “up +3% vs. season four, marking two consecutive SUNDAY BEST seasons of year over year ratings gains. Competitively speaking, the SUNDAY BEST franchise has been the #1 gospel series on television for five years, continues to be cable's #1 music competition series for the past two years and is the #1 reality competition series on cable this season.”

Our monthly August Nielsen reports show Sunday nights to be down 11% vs. last year on women 18-49, with SUNDAY BEST performing better in August 2011 than in August 2012, when all the primetime telecasts are included in the mix.

BET revealed its fall line-up in August, but the only regular series announced for primetime was a reality show, KEYSHIA & DANIEL: FAMILY FIRST, which is slated for a November debut. October brings the crowd-pleasing BET HIP HOP AWARDS, which like most of BET’s awards specials, has been gaining traction, and should put on a strong and much-needed spike.