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Comedy Central Analysis - October 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 October 2011 vs. October 2010 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Comedy Central was up modestly in younger men from last year while declining 10-20% from September - despite new episodes of top series SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0, as well as successful renewals NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME  and WORKAHOLICS. Top telecast for the second month in a row,  JEFF DUNHAM: CONTROLLED CHAOS,  was featured in a Thursday 9pm block of Stand Up specials leading into new offering GABRIEL IGLESIAS STAND UP at 10pm. Launching as the #3 series for average RW18-49 in October (behind SWARDSON and TOSH.0,) IGLESIAS is a key part of the Network's expansion of Stand-Up fare to Thursdays from its traditional Weekend slot.

Mondays were down in HH and W18-49 with this year's 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA compared to the SOUTH PARK block from October 2010. Delivery was down sharply from last month, when the night's ratings were driven by the ROAST OF CHARLIE SHEEN, which began at 10pm on the final Monday of the September survey, along with the  ROAST PRE-SHOW at 9pm.

On Tuesday,  new episodes of the just- 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 40% to RM18-49 over 2010, with  Season 2 of WORKAHOLICS  up sharply over October  2010's Season 1 of SWARDSON. The 830-1030 TOSH.0 block  grows from beginning to end, leading to 20% growth for RM18-49 over September.

Wednesday was down modestly versus last year. The return of fresh SOUTH PARK episodes, as well as  Season 2 of NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME, which held half of the SOUTH PARK M18-49 lead-in at 1030PM, led to monthly growth in the 20% range across the board.

On Thursday, a one hour block of FUTURAMA leads into a Stand-up block at 9pm, featuring the new GABRIEL IGLESIAS STAND-UP half-hour at 10pm. Younger women were up sharply over last year's animation-heavy line-up, and all demos were flat compared to September.

Essentially flip-flopping Thursday and Friday, repeats of WORKAHOLICS, SOUTH PARK and TOSH.0  led to modest declines from last year and last month.

Saturday and Sunday were flat with last year, with Sunday down sharply from September when a night of Jeff Dunham premiere specials fueled unusually strong delivery. Repeats of those specials and others were the top Weekend offerings this month.