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Discovery Analysis - November 2011


Discovery’s November schedule remains relatively consistent this month.  What had once been a consistent slate of series now features a mix or single hours, repeats, and specials.   Mondays remain gearhead night, with a lineup of AMERICAN CHOPPER and AMERICAN GUNS.  Tuesdays are anchored by AUCTION KINGS with little else making an appearance.  Wednesdays’ theme is truths and myths with MYTHBUSTERS and relative newcomer PENN AND TELLER.  Thursdays and Saturdays pick up a little of everything.  Fridays this month was Alaska night, which paid off big time for the network (see analysis below).  Sundays caps the week with a mix of programming and specials, including CURIOSITY.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

To sum up Discovery’s November one only needs a single word: ALASKA.  Alaska-driven series have catapulted the network to new heights in male viewers, and overall viewers.  According to network press, Discovery’s GOLD RUSH and FLYING WILD ALASKA on November 25 “finished as #1 and #2 non-sports cable programs among M25-54/M18-49 in ratings and delivery for the night for the the third straight week.”  For GOLD RUSH, this meant earning a 3.01HH (P25-54), nearly breaking the record for viewers.  FLYING WILD scored a 1.50HH, delivering an average of 2.21 million viewers (P2+). (Source: Discovery Network Press.)

However you want to crunch the numbers, Alaska, and the things that go with it – big characters, high stakes, fascinating stories – work well for the network.  Friday night’s lineup nearly doubled the monthly average, and the night saw growth in the triple digits across nearly all key demos (HH) compared to November 2010.    EVERYONE is watching this.

Also finding secure footing in November was Monday night’s lineup of AMERICAN CHOPPER: SENIOR and AMERICAN GUNS.  Premieres of both deliver above-average numbers.  CHOPPER is only showing slight signs of wear, falling 3% compared to last year.

Other nights saw just about average, or below average numbers.  Tuesdays were down from both a year ago and a month ago.  AUCTION KINGS is down 15% from last year – what’s next for Discovery in that space?  The other networks are hitting the maps hard with storage – how can Discovery join the party?

Wednesdays MYTHBUSTERS/PENN&TELLER lineup is down both from last year and last month.  MYTHBUSTERS continues to plug along, hitting the network averages, while PENN & TELLER is a little less consistent.  The show is down 7% from last month.

Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays proved a challenge for the network this month, with nightly averages for those nights falling short of average.  Tired reruns and inconsistent scheduling is most likely to blame, but look for new tentpole series in 2012 to fill the gaps.