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Lifetime Analysis


Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas.  They look for reality competition shows, game shows, scripted dramas geared to 25-54 demo.

PROJECT RUNWAY was a key asset for Lifetime. A network known for movies since the beginning, has come to expect high quality entertainment scripted shows.  Unscripted shows however, have always been a challenge for them because it's not part of their brand expectation.  RUNWAY, a top competition show, enabled them to branch out and acquire new reality shows and use RUNWAY as a launching pad for new programs.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Lifetime experienced a mixed April, with revived yearly numbers and lackluster monthly ratings.  The biggest question mark heading into the month was the debut of the Jennifer Love Hewitt starrer THE CLIENT LIST.  LIST, which was adapted from an eponymous Lifetime original movie, was met with warm reception among women, especially in the 25-54 demo.

After suffering a disappointing flop in last year’s drama THE PROTECTOR, Lifetime was hungry for a bona fide hit.  While the verdict is still out regarding the longevity of LIST, the second episode of the series only built upon the audience of the strong debut.  While the numbers have since dipped, it appears the shows ratings are leveling out.  This is certainly an improvement over THE PROTECTOR, which plummeted unerringly upon arrival.

While LIST enjoyed an encouraging opening, it fell short of the top spot.  The first prize was instead bestowed upon ARMY WIVES, which has dropped off only slightly as it rolls through its sixth season.  The top three telecasts of the month belonged to the drama, which garnered an impressive audience among women aged 18-49 and 25-54.  The show also had a sizeable number of Same Day DVR views – WIVES’ numbers were boosted 39% among women 18-49 when these views were incorporated.  Thanks to the WIVES’ expansive fan base, augmented by the success of LIST, Sundays were up 17% among women aged 18-49 and 22% among the 25-54 demo versus last year.

The newly formed tandem of LIST and WIVES stole the show, leaving DANCE MOMS to take third.  While DANCE had six telecasts over the course of the month, there was only one original episode – the season two finale.  The finale failed to outgun a single episode of either LIST or WIVES overall, but earned higher ratings amongst women aged 18-49 than any other telecast.

The original DANCE fared much better than newly debuted DANCE MOMS MIAMI.  MIAMI lured but a fraction of DANCE’s audience and especially dropped the ball among women aged 25-54.

AMERICAN PICKERS ended up in the middle of the pack and was the only show to have an equal or greater number of male viewers in each main age demo.

LOVE FOR SAIL – a reality dating show set on a cruise – debuted this April and ended up as the least watched show for the network.