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HGTV Analysis


HGTV is one of the most consistent programmers on the cable spectrum, but this August and September the network made some radical changes to its line-up. Radical for HGTV, anyway.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, tethered to 10 and 10:30 from Monday through Saturday. And PROPERTY BROTHERS remains a staple. The rest of the line-up is under serious re-construction.

The net rotated “signature” series such as HGTV’d and HGTV DESIGN STAR on Mondays last year and Tuesdays this year. But those programs are all gone now, replaced for the most part by new rising star, LOVE IT OR LIST IT, which is basically HOUSE HUNTERS with a spin.

“The Guys of Wednesday Night” still reign, with the help of new program BUYING AND SELLING (starring the PROPERTY BROTHERS Drew and Jonathan Scott) which was introduced in September.

Thursdays were the power real estate brokers with SELLING NY, then LA, and most recently LONDON. NATURAL BORN SELLERS joined the fray in August. But this September they are all gone, replaced with BUYING AND SELLING and various specials.

Saturdays have been home to “Design Time” for…ever(?). The design shows consistently under-perform real estate and construction programming, but seemed safe and somewhat under the radar on Saturday nights, where Design Stars and HGTV personalities were born and bred. But not anymore. LOVE IT OR LIST IT bumped them all out of primetime in August.

And finally, Sundays have been the long-standing home for Mike Holmes and his various programs…HOLMES ON HOMES, HOLMES INSPECTION and GREAT AMERICAN HANDYMAN. But the programming has been fading and the dual male/female audience did not match the rest of the schedule. By the end of September Mike and his programs were gone, replaced with PROPERTY BROTHERS and BUYING AND SELLING. In November HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION found a permanent home on Sunday nights.


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2012 vs. November 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Following some dramatic change to the line-up, HGTV is giving its schedule time to find its audience. With the exception of a few seasonal holiday specials, the schedule remained in tact this November, showing almost no change from October. Bottom line primetime numbers fell by just under 10% for core adults and women 25-54 vs. October and held even vs. last year.

Through all the schedule changes and ratings fluctuations, HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL are the anchor, or the beacon, or any other symbol of solid and steady leadership you can name. They are in place from Monday to Saturday at 10 and 10:30 and they consistently draw the biggest audiences, ranking first and second nearly every month. This month was no exception, as the two programs topped the rankers again. Ratings for the two shows fell by just under 10% vs. last month and held even vs. last year, moving at exactly the same rate and pace as the primetime average.

On Mondays LOVE IT OR LIST IT remains strong, pulling some of the best numbers of the week on its core women 25-54 audience. However, Tuesday’s PROPERTY VIRGINS is showing its age, steady on households but down on demos. An encore of LOVE IT OR LIST IT is in place at 8PM to help give VIRGINS a lift, and the good news is the night as a whole is maintaining its ratings.

Wednesday is for “The Guys of Wednesday Night,” or THE PROPERTY BROTHERS and BUYING AND SELLING. Both programs deliver ratings well above the primetime average, but they both dropped considerable audience vs. last month, showing signs that they might not be able to carry so much Wednesday weight on their venerable shoulders.

Thursdays got a make-over in the fall as the power real estate brokers of SELLING NEW YORK, LA and LONDON left the line up. BUYING & SELLING encores lead into EXTREME HOMES at 9PM. EXTREME HOMES is resonating with men – although the household and women 25-54 ratings for the show are well below the average primetime rating, it is the top rated show among men 18-49 and men 25-54. Fridays brought more EXTREME HOMES followed by HOME STRANGE HOME, which combined to underdeliver women and overperform on men as well. Now it’s up to HGTV to decide if that is an audience it wants to go after. The lack of Mike Holmes on the schedule would indicate not, but never say never.

Saturdays brought the most drastic change. The long-standing, low-rated Design Time Saturday night is gone, replaced with LOVE IT OR LIST IT. The night has gone from the lowest rated to the highest rated on the line-up.

And as mentioned, Sundays are no longer home to Mike Holmes, resulting in a big decrease in male ratings vs. last year, as women held steady. HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION was in place at 10PM, holding its own and ranking third behind its parent programs, HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL.