Skip to main content

MTV Analysis


MTV's schedule is constantly changing. They usually have at least 3 nights of primetime first-run programs, while the other nights are either re-runs or other specials. They fill gaps in the schedule by showing feature films and a few acquired series relevant to their audience. The timeslots leading up to premieres are usually a marathon of episodes of weeks' past. They rely on a lot of repetition in the form of marathons, especially on the weekends. They also make good use of tent poling by scheduling longstanding reliable series like THE REAL WORLD at 10PM and new, untested content either right before or at 10:30 or 11PM.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MTV was down overall from last year but showed marked improvement over the previous month’s ratings. The network had a few major events lined up that contributed to the monthly upswing.

The most watched program was the network’s annual MTV MOVIE AWARDS. Despite the program’s position at the top of the pack, the twenty-first iteration of the awards show was down considerably from last year. In fact, the faltering show fell a full 29% from last year’s total. Perhaps viewers are suffering from Twilight fatigue: the series has now won four years running. Though viewership of the show was female skewing, the relative male disinterest can’t be blamed on Twilight – the awards show (like MTV in general) is generally female leaning.

It should be mentioned that the AWARDS’ spot at the top of ratings heap is a little misleading. The awards show only aired once, meaning reruns didn’t drag down its overall numbers. As far as individual telecasts are concerned, TEEN MOM had a far more impressive go of it.

The fourth season premiere of MOM amassed mammoth ratings, especially among women 18-49. While the premiere numbers didn’t measure up to the previous two season debuts, it was MTV’s strongest telecast for the month and cable’s best showing of the night (6/12).

In spite of the positive premiere numbers, a disconcerting trend has emerged with each successive week: viewership dropped slightly but consistently throughout the month of June. In fact, MOM has fallen to its weakest ratings since its first season. But even a slump for an explosive success like MOM looks prettier than a winning streak for an average show on cable.

The biggest question mark going into the month was JERSEY SHORE spinoff SNOOKI & JWOWW. The show debuted to a decent female audience but proceeded to slip drastically after the curiosity factor wore off. It’s hard to paint SNOOKI as much else but a disappointment – its ratings fell behind fellow spinoff PAULY D PROJECT’s modest numbers.

TEEN WOLF – the show that picked up the scripted banner after SKINS dropped it – was consistent if not flashy. WOLF stayed more or less even with first season averages and maintained roughly similar ratings throughout the month. The show will never reach the peaks that MOM and SHORE have reached, but it’s doing nicely for itself as a scripted program. The season two premiere of scripted show AWKWARD outdid its series debut and was on par with season one numbers.

Other notable programs included RIDICULOUSNESS and AMERICA’S BEST DANCE CREW which each performed par for the course, ending up in the middle of the pack.