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TBS Analysis


Monday night starts the week with a FAMILY GUY stack, and Tuesday follows with a stack of THE BIG BANG THEORY. The two programs mix it up on Wednesday and Thursday nights with FAMILY GUY leading into THE BIG BANG THEORY. Friday through Sunday were all about movies on TBS for years, but now Tyler Perry programming brings women and African-American viewers to the network on Fridays, after getting the boot from its long-standing home on Wednesday nights. THE BIG BANG THEORY has staked a claim to yet another night – Saturday – where it runs from 8PM to 10PM each week.


LIVE + SAME DAY PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

APRIL 2012:

Once again, TBS enjoyed vast improvements over last year’s ratings, with core 18-49 audiences growing by 27% over April 2011. THE BIG BANG THEORY has almost single-handedly turned the network around, rescuing it from a precipitous ratings decline. First quarter was one of the best-rated ever in TBS’ history, buoyed by over 15 telecasts of BANG every week.

What could go wrong? Well THE BIG BANG THEORY could start to slide. And that’s just what happened this April. Compared to last month, ratings for the off-net sitcom are down by 11%. Still, TBS is in a good place with 27% growth and a top ranking among all cable networks. The trick will be to hold onto and maybe even grow the audience that has been tuning in for THE BIG BANG THEORY.

Which is just what TBS plans to do, according to the network’s upfront presentation. New comedies are scheduled to launch on the coattails of BANG’s success. The workplace comedies MEN AT WORK and SULLIVAN & SON will both have BIG BANG THEORY as a lead in. TBS is also expanding upon its CONAN brand, with two scripted comedies with his name on them --  MOST LIKELY and ZONE LORD. But the biggest surprise at the upfront was the announcement that TBS would take over COUGAR TOWN, the cancelled Courtney Cox sitcom, from ABC. The program is a stand-out from the rest of the TBS line-up not because it is a network program, but because it is decidedly female-focused.

But that is the future, where, no doubt, TBS would like us to look. We are here to look at April 2012’s ratings performance. Beyond BANG, FAMILY GUY is still in place as a three-hour block on Monday evenings. The program continues to slide, down among men 18-49 by 25% vs. last year and 10% vs. last month.

HOUSE OF PAYNE is holed up at the other end of the week on Friday nights, and is not doing well either. Women 18-49 ratings are off by 28% vs. last month and a crippling 49% vs. last year, when it aired on Wednesday nights.

Theatricals put forth mixed performances, but were overshadowed by the acquired sitcoms. The two best rated movies among men 18-49 were 2 Fast 2 Furious with a third place telecast ranking among men 18-49, followed by the classic The Longest Yard, with a 19th place ranking. The rest of the top 20 telecasts were all FAMILY GUY and THE BIG BANG THEORY.