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Lifetime Analysis - September 2011


* Bold denotes programming change


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 / September 2011 vs. September 2010  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Lifetime slouched its way through another month, again losing month-to-month and year-to-year viewers.  The network’s highest rating was a movie (SISTER ACT II) rather than an original program.  Never a good sign.

Among actual Lifetime shows, the highest rated program was easily PROJECT RUNWAY.  Now closing in on the end of its ninth season, the show remains a considerable draw.  RUNWAY did well among women aged 18-49 and even better with women aged 25-54.  RUNWAY stole the top four telecast ratings slots for each of its September premieres.  Thanks to the show, Thursdays tied for the best rated night of the week.

The other big night for the networks was Sunday, which featured both DROP DEAD DIVA and AGAINST THE WALL.  Both shows ranked directly below RUNWAY respectively.  DIVA, which concluded its third season in September, has a strong core audience.  Thanks to the positive ratings among women aged 25-54, the show has already been renewed to return next year.

New show AGAINST THE WALL continued to achieve fairly consistent – if not outstanding – ratings.  Interestingly, the show garnered its best and worst ratings ever in back-to-back weeks.  It will be interesting to see how the show fares in the closing weeks of its debut season.

DANCE MOMS did well during its Wednesday night timeslot, securing a decent audience among women aged 18-49.  While the show isn’t on the same level as RUNWAY or DIVA, MOMS has built significantly upon its audience on a week-to-week basis.  The show, which has been renewed for a second season, holds a great deal of promise for the network.

The rest of Lifetime’s shows fared significantly worse.  AMERICAN PICKERS, a thematic stretch for the network – flopped for the month.  Similar, feminized version SISTER PICKERS was a hair below.  REBA and ROSEANNE’S NUTS rounded out the litany of duds.  REBA has lost its luster on the network while ROSEANNE never managed to find any.  ROSEANNE closed out its first (and assumably last) season in mid-September.