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Comedy Central Analysis - November 2011


Comedy Central is adept at mixing original series with acquisitions such as ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and SCRUBS to deliver consistent young adult audiences. Their strategy of using established lead-ins such as SOUTH PARK to introduce new hits such as TOSH.0 has paid off: top-rated TOSH.0 is now being used in a similar fashion to introduce new series. The latest debut to benefit from a TOSH.0 lead-in, WORKAHOLICS, was renewed for a second season after only four episodes.

With over 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined by FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 in that role. Friday nights are devoted to Stand-Up specials, with movies and more Stand-Up  dominating the rest of the Weekend.

Comedy Central's schedule stands out in nonfiction cable (excluding news/sports networks) because two of its highest-profile franchises, THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and THE COLBERT REPORT, are weekday live-to-tape productions. Comedy Central's programs are arranged on a grid rare for its dependably predictable pattern -- day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, even year-to-year. These folks surely have some of the strongest appointment viewing numbers in the business. Their audience is also unusually, enviably younger, hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison November 2011 vs. November 2010 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Comedy Central's November delivery was down slightly in HH and key demos from October and last year - their second straight month of declines when compared to the previous month.  New episodes  successful renewals NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME  and WORKAHOLICS benefited as 1030pm lead-outs from premiere 10pm episodes of  TOSH.O and SOUTH PARK, respectively.While Jeff Dunham's series failed to generate sustained viewership, his special JEFF DUNHAM: CONTROLLED CHAOS was the top program for the third month in a row,  with his XMAS SPECIAL the #2 special for the month. No new series launched in November.

Mondays were down in HH and M and W18-49 with this year's 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA compared to the SOUTH PARK block from November 2010. Delivery was up slightly from last month.

Consistent with Tuesdays in October,  new episodes of recently- renewed 1030pm offering WORKAHOLICS  (#4 series for Prime HH Ratings) held a reliable 2/3 of the lead-in provided by TOSH.0 at 10pm. The combination added more than 30% to RM18-49 over 2010, but the night as a whole was down slightly from October. The 830-1030 TOSH.0 block  grows from beginning to end.

Wednesday was down modestly versus last year for the second month in a row. The last three episodes of  Season 2 of NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME  held 60% of their fresh SOUTH PARK M18-49 lead-in at 1030PM, Delivery was down by mid-teen percentages from October, (which was fueled by new episodes for the entire survey.)

Strong Thursday growth for RW18-49 was spurred by JEFF DUNHAM: CONTROLLED CHAOS and JEFF DUNHAM'S XMAS SPECIAL. In addition, younger women spike for the recently launched  GABRIEL IGLESIAS STAND-UP half-hour at 10pm. A repeat of THE COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF CHARLIE SHEEN still proved potent, leading out of the Dunham specials on Thanksgiving. HH and key demos were up modestly compared to October.

Essentially flip-flopping Thursday and Friday, repeats of WORKAHOLICS, SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0  led to  declines in HH and W18-49 from last year's Stand-Up-centric lineup, but was up 20-40% from it's debut in October.

Saturday and Sunday were down significantly with last year, with both down modestly from October. Repeats of SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0 were the top offerings, along with a repeat of JEFF DUNHAM'S XMAS SPECIAL.