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Lifetime Analysis - October 2011


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, now 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 / October 2011 vs. October 2010  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Lifetime’s numbers were slightly down for the month of October.  But the diminished ratings certainly weren’t the fault of the illustrious PROJECT RUNWAY.  Whereas the majority of Lifetime’s programming was lukewarm, RUNWAY pulled its weight and then some.  Easily the most popular show for the month, RUNWAY attracted a slew of female viewers from the 25-49 demo.

Lifetime shrewdly milked the RUNWAY format by introducing two companion shows this month. Both AFTER THE RUNWAY and PROJECT ACCESSORY performed well for their respective debuts, retaining a huge chunk of the original RUNWAY fan base.  Both shows were popular with women and especially well-received among the 25-54 crowd.   Thanks to the trio of RUNWAY shows, Thursdays were Lifetime’s strongest night of the week.

Despite the success of RUNWAY and ACCESSORY, the two new debuts were edged out by original films HUNT FOR THE I-5 KILLER and BETRAYED AT 17.  The two Lifetime productions helped make Sundays the second biggest night of the week.

Scripted drama AGAINST THE WALL was down from last month, although its ratings were fairly stable throughout the month.  The show can’t seem to tap into the audience that habitually flocks to Lifetime Original Movies.

DANCE MOMS – which aired on Wednesdays – closed out its first season with a bang.  The finale earned the show its highest marks of the season.

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES was less fortunate.  The show (which has displayed incredible longevity) had trouble finding an audience and ultimately ended up being the Lifetime’s worst rated show.  REBA fared little better, once again find itself stuck in the ratings doldrums.