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Discovery Analysis


Some new additions to the Discovery schedule in the month of February. Mondays saw a lineup of FIRST WEEK IN and AMERICAN CHOPPER: SENIOR.  Tuesdays are anchored by DIRTY JOBS, with the addition of AUCTION KINGS and RAGIN CAJUN this month.  Wednesdays featured a lineup of AMERICAN GUNS.  Thursdays feature high-stakes crime programming with U.S. DRUG WARS.  Fridays in February remained Gold night (#ThankGoldItsFriday).  Saturdays and Sundays cap the week with a mix of programming and specials.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

#Thankgolditsfriday, Discovery's Twitter hashtag to describe their Friday night primetime lineup, has been the epicenter of Discovery's 2012 lineup.  Friday nights roster of GOLD RUSH and BERING SEA GOLD continue to dominate the Discovery schedule with big numbers and big improvements over last year.  And, GOLD RUSH and BERING SEA took the #1 and #2 spots in Discovery's top telecasts for February.  It's not only the viewers that must #ThankGoldItsFriday in February.

Still, there's a lot of room for improvement for Discovery on many of the other nights of the week.  Overall numbers are down 13% from a year ago and all key demographics saw a loss since last year.  The network saw some fairly significant losses compared to January as well.  While some can likely be attributed to heavy competition in February from the broadcast networks, it seems that Discovery is throwing a lot into the schedule, hoping to find out what is going to stick.  (To see how Discovery's year-to-year numbers compared to other networks in the CableU top 30, click here:

Crime program FIRST WEEK IN, which followed an inmate's first week in jail, didn't seem to find the foothold that it needed on Monday nights.  Ratings hovered just around average, and didn't do much for the night, which saw a drop of 36% compared to last year.  AMERICAN CHOPPER: SENIOR, and WORLD'S TOUGHEST TRUCKER, which replaced FIRST WEEK midway through the month proved to be stronger (although CHOPPER is down 20% from last year.)

Tuesday nights were the weakest of the week, and saw losses compared to both last month and last year.  RAGIN CAJUN eked by with number just above and just below average, as did AUCTION KINGS.

Wednesday's lineup of AMERICAN GUNS and SONS OF GUNS saw decent numbers, but the night was down 33% compared to last year.  Thursday also saw losses, though US DRUG WARS brought in above-average numbers in its debut (though numbers fell again later in the month.

A somewhat mixed lineup on Saturdays and Sundays in February delivered some good numbers.  A special about the Costa Concordia, CRUISE SHIP DISASTER, scored well on Sunday the 19th, and was the #3 telecast for the month for Discovery.

Overall, February might prove to be a transitory month for Discovery.  With a wide variety of programming genres - everything from crime to documentary, adventure to transactional, Discovery is trying to find what is going to fit for their constantly fickle audience.  Gold and Alaska continue to dominate - it's going to be a race to figure out what space is the new Alaska.