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Discovery Analysis - October 2011


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, this month using AUCTION KINGS with new addition CARFELLAS, and AUCTION KINGS, to follow.  Wednesday is a lineup of male-skewing reality - this month, MYTHBUSTERS and PENN AND TELLER TELL A LIE..  Thursday’s lineup is a mix of programming, while Mondays remains gearhead night with the shift of AMERICAN CHOPPER from TLC and now, AMERICAN GUNS.  Fridays are all about survival, while Saturdays and Sundays tend to feature mini-stacks of programming.  Sunday has been the home for CURIOUSITY, the tentpole series, followed by STORM CHASERS in October.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

For the 5th month in a row, audiences were down for Discovery.  However, year-to-year numbers tell a slightly more positive story, with positive growth across key demographics compared to last August.  GOLD RUSH ALASKA was the top performer for the network this month.  It appears that a few other networks have proved to be extremely strong competition for Discovery in the male-skewing reality space and now it's up to Discovery to find their next big hit.

Monday nights staple AMERICAN CHOPPER continues to bring in above-average numbers for network.  AMERICAN GUNS joined the schedule mid-October, and though numbers weren't quite as high as lead-in CHOPPER, it still scored above-average.  The night is among the highest of the week (though down from last month.)

Monday nights’ AMERICAN CHOPPPER: SENIOR VS. JUNIOR could be that very reason.  Monday nights were very strong for Discovery, as back to back episodes of AC scored above average numbers for the network.  In September, the 10pm slot rotated each week.  Top performer in this slot was CARFELLAS – nothing else seemed to resonate with the AC audience as well.  Overall, the night is up big-time from a year ago, a positive sign for now very male-skewing Discovery.

Auctions and cars are again on the block for Tuesday nights.  Numbers hover around average, with a few telecasts of AUCTION KINGS scoring above-average.

Penn and Teller returned to the airwaves in PENN AND TELLER TELL A LIE this month on Wednesday nights.  The show scored above-average numbers in its debut, and pulled in above-average numbers throughout the month.  MYTHBUSTERS continues to score well and provides a nicely targeted lead-in for PENN AND TELLER.  Wednesday was the strongest night of the week in October for Discovery, and skews - by quite a long shot - younger than any other.  Compared to October 2010, the night is up 8% in men.

Thursdays this month on the channel delved a bit into crime and with titles like EXTREME DRUG SMUGGLING, I FAKED MY OWN DEATH, and TRACK ME IF YOU CAN.  Numbers throughout the month varied widely depending on the lineup.

Fridays pulled in nice numbers in October with MAN, WOMAN, WILD, TRAWLER WARS, and GOLD RUSH.  GOLD RUSH was the clear winner for the night, boosting average HH numbers up 41% from last month and up 20% from the same night a year ago.  Alaska must be the new Jersey.  Producers take note - what's the new Alaska?

Saturdays featured a variety of programming in October, with nothing really sticking in the timeslot.

And for yet another month, CURIOSITY, the tentpole series, didn’t even crack the top 20 telecasts in the month. The I Caveman episode scored above average (barely.)  We have higher hopes for upcoming titles next month.