TBS Analysis - April 2010


* Bold denotes programming change


Monday night is all FAMILY GUY and Tuesday is all THE OFFICE. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming bringing women and African-American viewers to the network. (MEET THE BROWNS was the #1 scripted series on all of television last year among African-Americans 18-49). Thursday and Friday start out with more FAMILY GUY leading into a movie (or vice versa). Weekend prime is usually all movies.


LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON April 2010 vs. April 2009 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

More of the same programming-wise from TBS this month as the schedule remains virtually unchanged. However, more of the same programming is leading to slightly less audience, resulting in a more is less situation, or is that less is less? Either way, bottom-line, TBS showed no growth vs. last year, with core ratings off by very small percentages. Compared to March male ratings were down 13% while women were up seven percent, leveling out at a four percent loss among adults 18-49. Notably, TBS' median age continues its slow but steady descent, down another 2% this month vs. last. Network heads credit late-night LOPEZ TONIGHT with the drop.

Mondays kick off the line-up with a full night of FAMILY GUY and the best ratings of the week. While FAMILY GUY continues as the biggest draw for men and adults, it is losing its luster. Mondays are down 8% vs. last month. Three straight hours of FAMILY GUY is a lot of the same dysfunctional family / raunchy humor to deal with. TBS' plan is to bring in new animated raunchy comedies with different dysfunctional families to give FAMILY GUY (and audiences?) some relief.

While remaining the second highest rated TBS program among men 18-49, THE OFFICE resumed its decline this April. Down 14% vs. last month and 25% from last year, the program isn't working as a stand-alone. To add to the equation, Tuesday night has become one of the most competitive on cable, with nearly every network programming a "signature original" on that night.

On Wednesdays HOUSE OF PAYNE continued with new episodes, nudging up Wednesday night's women 18-49 ratings by five percent over last year. HOUSE OF PAYNE grew five percent vs. last month's new episodes, and an impressive 35% over last year's repeat episodes. MEET THE BROWNS was a distant second on the demo; the franchise remains strong.

The rest of the week is dominated by movies. As a whole, movies helped drive the biggest audience swings of the month. Fridays (with the help of the Shrek sequels) showed the biggest improvements, with a 50% gain among women 18-49 vs. last year and a 42% gain vs. last month.

TBS has cut back its use of FAMILY GUY as a movie lead-in. It is gone from Saturday nights entirely, and was bumped from two of four Friday nights. It does continue full time as a Thursday night lead-out for the MOVIE EXTRA, even when paired with female skewing movies like The Wedding Planner.

FAMILY GUY dominated men 18-49 programs again this month, placing each of the top 17 telecasts. The only other player was movies, with Shrek 2, Shrek The Third and Lord of the Rings. Women have a more well-rounded diet at TBS; Tyler Perry fare accounts for telecasts #1-6, but movies (Shrek again) and FAMILY GUY help round out the list.


TBS is aware of the heavy FAMILY GUY diet of its audience. In an attempt to give them a better-balanced TBS serving, three animated comedies are in the works, which will act as companions to FAMILY GUY and give viewers a taste of something slightly different. NEIGHBORS FROM HELL is the first to roll out this June.  GOOD AND EVEL and THE BLACK FAMILY are in development. TBS heads are careful to point out that the humor might be slightly raunchy, but they are looking for funny first, raunchy second.

Four one-hour scripted comedies have been announced, designed to help relieve FAMILY GUY from lead-in / lead-out duty to movies. GLORY DAZE has received a greenlight, and THE WEDDING BAND, THE RABBIT FACTORY and THE CATCH are in development.

But TBS would rather talk about latenight, starting most conversations with Conan and ending them with George Lopez. TBS promised Conan whatever he asked for in order to get him to the network. In return, TBS is hoping for a lot of attention, help with its branding and invaluable cross-promotional opportunities that will drive viewers to its primetime programming. Most of all, TBS gets to talk about something new, and seriously ramp up its "cool" factor.

With so much to talk about, it is easy to overlook the recent acquisition of THE BIG BANG THEORY; it was just mentioned as an aside at TBS' upfront presentation. But that record-shattering deal might just make the biggest strides towards rounding out the TBS line-up and growing the audience.