Skip to main content

History Channel Analysis


Programming blocks and consistent scheduling seem to be History’s mantra.  Not too wide a programming mix, the primetime schedule is home to the solid favorites, giving viewers several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing.  On weekends, a mix of programming and stacked mini-marathons of top shows drive the lineup.   In September, there was a tremendous reliance on PAWN STARS and spin-off CAJUN PAWN STARS, with the show appearing 96 times during the month.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

With some nights seeing nearly 100% growth in overall compared to last year, and others seeing losses, September was an interesting month for History.  Still, the network is dominating in the ratings compared to several other networks in its target demographics - no easy feat when you consider the massive cable landscape and competition.  Overall, September saw a 6% increase in overall viewers compared to last year, but saw losses overall among key younger demographics.  But with a strong lineup of original series and specials slated to premiere in October, it's likely these losses will be reversed by next month.  96

Mondays in September featured a lineup of PAWN STARS and AMERICAN PICKERS.  Despite premieres nearly tripling average for the network, the night was down 26% compared to this September 2011.  Both shows are starting to show some major signs of wear; PAWN is down 30% compared to last year, and AMERICAN PICKERS is down 20% in overall viewers compared to its performance in 2011.   COUNTING CARS replaced PICKERS toward the end of the month but ratings didn't hit average, or come close to PICKERS' numbers.

Tuesdays in September saw more PAWN STARS, paired throughout the month with TOP GEAR, and COUNTING CARS.  COUNTING CARS continued to score above-average numbers in the lead-out spot.  The night is up 15% compared to a year ago and TOP GEAR is seeing numbers up 51% compared to last year.

CAJUN PAWN STARS anchors History's schedule for Wednesday nights.  This month, the night saw year-to-year gains of 10% overall.  Lead out AMERICAN RESTORATION gained momentum from last month and numbers increased throughout the month.

Thursday's schedule was even more PAWN STARS, driving the night up 42% compared to last year.  COUNTING CARS anchored the 10pm and 10:30pm slots.  Numbers weren't quite up to PAWN's, but they were above average.  However, there was some decline throughout the month.

Fridays in September featured stacked episodes of AMERICAN PICKERS and the night was up compared to last year.  Some episodes managed to hit average, while some fell below during the month.

Marathons of PAWN STARS anchored the Saturday primetime lineup in September and, as we've seen, the show manages to draw a crowd whenever it's scheduled.  The night was up 93% compared to September of 2011, and saw similar growth among the key demographics as well - clearly a smart programming choice for History.

Sunday's schedule in September was anchored by a variety of programming, from MOUNTAIN MEN to AMERICAN PICKERS, ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, and COUNTING CARS.  ICE ROAD TRUCKERS continues to deliver above-average numbers for History, as did PICKERS.  Still, the night is down 21% compared to September 2011.

Look for more scripted programming and miniseries in the coming months, as well as more attempts by the network to step on Discovery's toes in programming choices and scheduling.