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Discovery Analysis - June 2011


* Bold denotes programming change


Schedule has shifted from a consistent slate of series to one that features several nights mixed with single hours, series repeats, and specials.  Tuesdays have been the anchor night of late, using DEADLIEST CATCH as a springtime anchor with other series (DIRTY JOBS) to follow.  Wednesdays have alternated MYTHBUSTERS and MAN VS WILD as the anchor.  Thursdays have featured a variety of series, including half hours, although none have settled there permanently.  Mondays have recently returned to gearhead with the shift of AMERICAN CHOPPER from TLC.  Fridays have risen to the top spot with adventure and survival content.  Saturdays and Sundays tend to push mini-stacks of the best performing series throughout the week.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

June was down just a little bit from year ago.  Men were up slightly, women were down slightly more.  The network's male skew grows from 63% to 67% over the last year.  Monthly comparisons were better as target demos rose for the 4th consecutive month.

DEADLIEST CATCH was the top rated series for the month in the key demos.  Tuesday premieres at 9pm were outstanding, filling up most of the network's top five list.  8pm repeats were OK, comparable to prime average.  AFTER THE CATCH was back in the 10pm slot garnering a couple of solid outings.  DEADLIEST was down about 15% in key demos from last year, a number that doesn't bode well heading into July.

AMERICAN CHOPPER finished strong in mid June, becoming the second strongest rated series of the month.  The boys from Orange County NJ grabbed a few more A25-54 than May, and was up double digits for 18-49 versus May.

DUAL SURVIVAL pushed Friday nights up more than 40% in the key demos.  Premieres at 9pm stood above the rest.  Repeats at 8pm struggled more than they should.

SWAMP LOGGERS was rock solid on Fridays at 10pm coming out of DUAL SURVIVAL in the back half of the month.  For the first two weeks, SWAMP BROTHERS was OK at 10pm, holding most of the SURVIVAL lead-in.  BROTHERS wasn't quite as strong on Monday nights though, particularly on repeats.  Just like May, this one needs a big lead-in to boost the audience, otherwise it's an average performer at best.

DECEPTION WITH KEITH BARRY was the lone new series in June.  Opening on a Tuesday night with slightly below average numbers, it faded quickly once in its regular Wednesday 10pm slot, dropping each of its three weeks on the schedule.

MYTHBUSTERS was on par with last year, SWORDS ON THE LINE was down a notch on Thursdays, and HOGS GONE WILD held serve.

LIFE ON A WIRE got a sneak peek on the last Wednesday of the month.  Based on the Oscar nominated theatrical doc, the series follows the Wallendas, a multi-generational family of performers on the high wire.  Audiences didn't flock to the highly promoted special, dropping more than half of the MYTHBUSTERS lead-in.  Don't be surprised the series disappears from the prime time schedule in the fall.


After a strong summer, numbers went in the opposite direction to end 2010.  However, it's still one of the best brands in the business.  The most households, the widest global reach, the greatest prestige.  They'll commission it, co-produce it, acquire it, license it, merchandise it, take it around the name it.  Note that the bulk of the effort has shifted to global commissions.  CEO David Zaslav's desire to push product outwards to DCI's regions has come to fruition the last couple of years and we expect it will continue in full force in the coming months.

2011.  Another new year, another shift in the management.  TLC General Manager Eileen O'Neill was bumped up to Group President and now has overview over Discovery Channel as well.  Changes are already underway.  TLC's COO and Communications SVP have added the same role at Discovery Channel.  Closer to the creative side, Nancy Daniels moves over from TLC to take over the top spot in Production and Development for the flagship channel.  Shifts in editorial direction have yet to be announced, but we would expect to see changes soon.

Oversight of the Science Channel has been partitioned off to another Group President, to be combined with Animal Planet.  Expect the channel's role as a feeder network for programming to slow down.  Likewise, we anticipate fewer Discovery series to migrate over to Discovery after their initial runs.