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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 / November 2012 vs. November 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

November was a mixed bag for MTV: although some key gains were made from a yearly standpoint, numbers were down across the board from last month. Despite the mediocre showing overall, there was at least one positive in the form of TEEN MOM II.

MOM II embarked upon its third season in November. The show, which aired on Mondays, boosted the night dramatically from both a monthly and yearly perspective. Mondays, which were MTV’s most popular night of the week, were up 200% (monthly) and 250% (yearly) among women 18 – 49.

While these increases are impressive, the news isn’t all good. Though MOM II is substantially better than what was airing last month and last year (RIDICULOUSNESS), it didn’t measure up to itself. MOM II suffered its worst debut performance yet and the following two episodes rated worse than any other preceding broadcast. This is bad news for a network that is at something of a crossroad. They have not yet discovered the post-JERSEY SHORE “next big thing” in reality and their scripted slate is not explosive enough to maintain the network on its own.

With the diminishing popularity of TEEN MOM II, much is riding on upcoming reality program BUCKWILD, which has been dubbed a fusion of JERSEY SHORE and HONEY BOO BOO.

Following the premiere episode of MOM II (which garnered ratings comparable to a normal episode from seasons past) the most popular telecasts belonged to JERSEY SHORE. There was a time, not too long ago, that SHORE playing second fiddle to anything else on MTV would have seemed ridiculousness. Now, as it slowly winds into oblivion, the concept does not seem farfetched.

SHORE, which air on Thursdays, has not experienced numbers this low since its very beginning in ’09. Thursday’s ratings were down 35% among women 18 – 49 compared to last month.

Whereas SHORE has outstayed its welcome, THE CHALLENGE (in its various incarnations) seems to have unlimited longevity. Now in its 23rd season, CHALLENGE was the most watched program behind MOM II. The show still pulls a strong crowd in the 18 – 49 range, particularly with women.

RIDICULOUSS, which concluded season “2B”in November, has been down compared to its first season. Its season finale was also down from last year.

Things were not going well on the scripted side of things either. At the end of month MTV decided to cancel THE INBEETWEENERS after very disappointing ratings throughout the initial season.

Fellow scripted show UNDEREMPLOYED continued to garner even worse ratings than INBETWEENERS but has so far survived cancellation. It concludes its first season in December.

Perhaps the most interesting development on MTV this November was the premiere of CATFISH: THE TV SHOW. The show, which is a television adaptation of the popular 2010 documentary, earned encouraging ratings.