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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 / January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

This January, MTV made significant month-to-month gains but once again experienced a loss compared to last year. MTV celebrated the New Year bidding farewell to the old (JERSEY SHORE) and welcoming the new (BUCKWILD.)

The month kicked off a new era of post-SHORE programming for the network. As the torch was passed to BUCKWILD, which now inhabits the SHORE’S old timeslot, the new show experienced much of the same criticism. Outrage at the portrayal of West Virginians replaced anger toward SHORE’S depiction of New Jersey.

But did the controversy translate into SHORE caliber viewership? Initially, this appeared to be the case. BUCKWILD’S two-episode premiere handily beat out SHORE’S double episode premiere in 2009. But while SHORE started out meekly, it consistently built upon its viewership at an explosive rate.

Unfortunately, the same was not true for BUCKWILD. In the week following its premiere, BUCKWILD took a considerable dive in the ratings. Though the show was able to reclaim its lost ground (and then some) as January continued, it finished off the month a far cry from SHORE.

Ultimately, the program’s eighth (of ten) episode scored its highest ratings for the month. For now, the show appears to have leveled off in the ratings.

Thursday nights, which featured BUCKWILD, were up 7% among men 18 – 49 and flat with women 18 – 49 from December (which aired the final episodes of SHORE).

The yearly ratings, however, told a different story. A year ago, Thursday nights featured a SHORE that was still in its heyday. This January, the night fell 46% with men 18 – 49 and 51% with women 18 – 49.

Despite having the most telecasts in the network’s list of top 20 most viewed (with 11), BUCKWILD did not have the highest viewed telecast. That distinction belonged to the established hit TEEN MOM II. But much like SHORE, viewers have lost interest as the series loses its freshness. This third season continues to fall short of the premiere ratings from previous seasons. Despite the decline in ratings, season four has already been schedules for February. Mondays, which aired MOM, were the second biggest night after Thursdays.

Bereft fans of SHORE were able to get their fix with the return of spinoff SNOOKI & JWOWW. Unfortunately, there were a few less fans than last time around. The second season premiere fell short of the numbers posted from the series’ debut. Despite this, SNOOKI was up dramatically from the first season’s finale.

New reality series WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, failed to gain traction. The show found its strongest ratings among women 18 – 49, but even that demo was low. It’s safe to say MTV has not found its SHORE replacement with HEIGHTS.

CATFISH, which originally premiered last November, enjoyed a much more satisfactory month. Thanks to the now infamous Manti Te’o scandal (which relates to the show’s premise) viewership of the show enjoyed a spike. With the first episode following the story, the show matched a series high among the 18 – 49 crowd thanks to the garnered publicity.

UNDEREMPLOYED ended up dead last for MTV as it closed out its disappointing first season run.