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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, which is in place at 10:30 to give CONAN the biggest lead-in possible. TBS new round of original comedies runs on Thursday nights as well. 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 September 2012 vs. September 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

SEPTEMBER 2012: September marks TBS’ transition between the peak summer cable season and the MLB post-season, not to mention the competition stemming from the new broadcast season. In the face of all that, TBS managed to nudge up its male audience vs. last month and take serious strides vs. last year, particularly among the older demos. In fact, median age of TBS’ primetime audience went up by 19% vs. last year. Once strictly an 18-34/18-49 network, TBS’ biggest audience segment is now aged between 25 and 54 with a median age topping 40 this month.   18-49 ratings grew by 25% vs. last year while 25-54 ratings improved by 49%. September also marks the one-year anniversary of the addition of THE BIG BANG THEORY to the line-up, the source of most of that growth and change.

Of course it is easy to affect change when you control 39 hours of primetime. Add to that the fact that BANG holds the top rated spot across the board, and the single program controls nearly 40% of the primetime inventory and over half the GRPs. The program is also giving TBS a bigger female skew. Ratings for the show are up between 7 and 10% vs. last month. Compared to last year (when it aired a mere 10 times in primetime), ratings for the program are up by 50%.

FAMILY GUY retains its younger male compositions, but it is not impervious to BANG’s gravitational pull, and ratings for older demos and women are nudging up.

SULLIVAN & SON, a much-needed original hit for the network was strong this month. The half hour comedy placed second in the program rankings, and grew its men 18-49 audience by 18% vs. its premiere month performance in August.

Unfortunately the Friday night sitcoms HOUSE OF PAYNE and FOR BETTER OR WORSE cannot make the same claim. Their ratings for target women are down by about 15% vs. last month. Compared to last year PAYNE is down 51%. In another bad sign, Tyler Perry agreed to give all future projects to OWN. To add fuel to the fire, Friday night’s VERY FUNNY NEWS skein featured male-skewing movies.

On Saturdays, TNT’s FRANKLIN & BASH made an unannounced appearance at 10PM. Possibly a function of advertiser make-goods, the program did improve audience each week, but never came close to lead-in THE BIG BANG THEORY, or the original airings on TNT.