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MTV Analysis - October 2011


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 / October 2011 vs. October 2010 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Once again, MTV suffered a ratings dip in both monthly and yearly averages.  This troubling downturn was mirrored by the performance of JERSEY SHORE.  While SHORE is still a massive hit for MTV – it was the network’s top show this October – the once-manic interest has begun to wane.

After a massive premiere, the SHORE’s fourth season bowed out with a (comparative) whimper.  In terms of standards set in place by the previous season, the second half of this latest outing was fairly underwhelming.  While the finale was still the most watched show on cable for its timeslot, it was down 13% -- a significant fall considering every previous finale built on the last. It appears the crown is slipping.

TEEN MOM fell into its accustomed secondary position behind the SHORE with a two part special featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky.  The two-hour special – which comes in the interim of the third and fourth seasons – fared well.  It was third highest rated show for its timeslot on that Tuesday (October 4th) behind FX juggernaut SONS OF ANARCHY and Comedy Central’s TOSH.0.  While Tuesdays lagged far behind SHORE-dominated Thursdays, Tuesday managed to claim second.  Tuesdays – which were down 50% from last year, featured I USED TO BE FAT and TRUE LIFE.  Both shows posted middling ratings.

October also saw the return of beloved MTV staple BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD.  The idiot duo have clearly been missed: the first new BEAVIS episode in over a decade garnered enough viewers to beat out all other telecasts aside from the SHORE.  The classic cartoon was drastically (and unsurprisingly) more popular among men – a rarity among MTV shows.

Wednesdays were another relatively strong night for MTV.  While Wednesday’s numbers were down 23% from a yearly standpoint, it was the only night of the week that managed month-to-month gain.  This increase was largely thanks to decent female viewership (up 7% from last month.)

While, RIDICULOUSNESS (Monday) has seen some decline since its impressive premiere, ratings have stabilized.  While the show’s ratings are a far cry from the similarly themed TOSH.0, RIDICULOUSNESS’s solid numbers have prompted the network to renew it for a second season.

The rest of the lineup – which included CUFF’D and CHELSEA – served to drag down the network.  One potential bright spot was the premiere of new animated comedy GOOD VIBES.  The show attracted an impressive audience an outperformed average MTV premiere numbers.