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TBS Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of June 20, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PRIMETIME PROGRAMMING

THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW
(SITCOM)
Engvall gives a humorous look at parenting in the modern world, playing a family counselor who struggles to figure out his own family issues.
Status: 3rd season returning in July (new Saturday night timeslot). Produced by: Parallel Entertainment and TBS

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (SITCOM)
Ray Romano stars in this sitcom about his family.  (Off CBS.)
Status: Occasional primetime player, hasn't been on the air in a few months. Produced by: Worldwide Pants Incorporated.

FAMILY GUY (SITCOM)
Animated series about a dysfunctional family and a talking dog.  (Off Fox.)
Status: On TBS' primetime schedule. Produced by: 20th Century Fox

FRIENDS (SITCOM)
Sitcom about group of friends in New York City.  (Off NBC.)
Status: On TBS' primetime schedule. Produced by: Warner Brothers Television

MEET THE BROWNS (SITCOM)
Tyler Perry sitcom based on the movie and play of the same name.
Status: On TBS' primetime schedule. Produced by: The Tyler Perry Company / Debmar-Mercury LLC

MY BOYS (SITCOM)
Ensemble comedy set in Chicago explores the dating life of a group of single friends.
Status: Third season premiered March 31. Produced by: Sony Pictures Television / Pariah

MY NAME IS EARL (SITCOM)
Sitcom follows a man who wins a small lottery, has an epiphany and sets out to right all the wrongs from his past. (Off NBC)
Status: On TBS' primetime schedule. Produced by: 20th Century Fox Television

THE OFFICE
(SITCOM)
Sitcom follows the daily interactions of a group of idiosyncratic office employees via a documentary film crew's cameras. (Off NBC)
Status: On TBS' primetime schedule. Produced by: Universal Studios Media / Reveille

TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE
(SITCOM)
Syndicated sitcom focused on a multigenerational working-class family.
Status: Repeats currently on TBS primetime. Produced by: Debmar-Mercury LLC / The Tyler Perry Company

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS

MEET THE BROWNS, FAMILY GUY

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TBS runs original and off-net sitcoms in back-to back one or two hour blocks from Monday to halfway through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday start out with sitcoms that lead into a movie. Weekend prime is all movies for now.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW (third season): Saturdays in July
LOPEZ TONIGHT: November, Monday - Thursday at 11PM.

RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison: 
May 2009 vs. May 2008(% Change)
HH      M18-49    W18-49
Monday 8-11pm             -8%        -11%         16%
Tuesday 8-11pm           -17%      -20%       -15%
Wednesday 8-11pm      -13%       -34%          5%
Thursday 8-11pm          -11%       -13%           4% 
Friday 8-11pm              -17%        12%       -19%
Saturday 8-11pm           2%          -2%         18%
Sunday 8-11pm             -6%         -29%      13%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm     -10%       -15%        3%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

May was not a good month for TBS. Ratings dropped to levels the network hasn't seen in a couple of years, erasing the gains of its recent come-back. Compared to May 2008, total primetime ratings were off by ten percent, men 18-49 ratings were off by 15% and adult 18-49 ratings were down by seven percent. Compared to April, ratings were down by about 12%.

TNT's successful NBA playoffs were certainly a huge factor here. As sister network TNT's numbers go up, TBS' typically fall. This is somewhat by design, as TBS tends to avoid airing its own high-profile programming when TNT has big events on its air, and to compound the effect, TBS airs lot's of promos urging viewers to tune into TNT.  Play-offs were airing on TNT last year as well, but NBA numbers have been higher this season, and the play-offs were no exception. (See CableU's TNT Performance/Schedule Analysis).

But, there is more at play here than The Cavaliers and The Magic. The TBS line-up is waning, and there was not much there to give it new life this May. FAMILY GUY is the dominant force on the schedule. It is usually the top-rated program, and it gets more airtime than any other program (10 telecasts each week). It starts out the night every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. And so, as FAMILY GUY goes, so goes TBS. The show's ratings were down by about 15% this month. In fact, all of TBS' regular programming was off by double digits from both year-ago and month-ago.

There were two programs with new episodes this month. MY BOYS is in its third season, airing on Tuesdays at 10:30. It is the lowest rated program on the network among households and women 18-49, and has lost 18% of households and 12% of 18-49 year olds since last month. The highlight of the month was the start of the new season of MEET THE BROWNS. Two new episodes aired on the last Wednesday of the month, and topped the TBS ratings charts.

With 24 NBA play-off games airing over the course of the month on TNT, every night of the week was down vs. last month on TBS, with one exception. On Wednesdays, Tyler Perry's HOUSE OF PAYNE and MEET THE BROWNS actually pulled in 4% more men 18-49 this month than last. (Women 18-49 are the core viewers on this night, and their ratings were off by 4% vs. April),

Looking at last year's numbers, there are more positive stories to tell.  FAMILY GUY is now airing on Fridays, while last year was all movies. As a direct result, the median age for the night is 20% lower, and men 18-49 ratings are 12% higher. Total female viewing was actually up vs. last year. Only Tuesdays and Fridays fell among women vs. 2008. Their best numbers came from Tyler Perry Wednesdays, movies with wedding themes - Monster-In-Law and Wedding Date - plus Hitch.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

A TV-exclusive 13-title movie package was picked up from Warner Bros. In May 2009. Titles include Terminator Salvation (for TNT), Watchmen, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Gran Torino, The Hangover, The Informant and Sherolock Holmes. Each movie will air about 30 months after their theatrical releases, putting the start date at the end of 2011.

A Lionsgate deal was announced in April 2009, that will give TNT and TBS first network TV rights to The Bank Job, Transporter 3 and Crank: High Voltage, and more importantly for TBS, Tyler Perry movies Madea Goes to Jail and The Family That Preys in 2010 / 2011. Second-window rights were purchased for Disaster Movie and My Best Friend's Girl.

TNT and TBS signed up for theatrical prebuys for cable rights to New Line and Picturehouse titles: The Women,Journey to the Center of the Earth, 17 Again and Four Christmases.

TBS signed a Lionsgate deal valued between $8 and $10 million, which also included pre-buys. Titles include Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (begins 2010) and Larry the Cable Guy's Witless Protection (begins 2010), allowing TBS to lock in those franchises. Other titles include Lord of War and In the Mix, which will become available this spring.

At the end of February '08, TBS and TNT completed a big movie purchase from WB. Among the titles likely to appear on TBS are Get Smart and Yes Man. TBS will be able to start running Ant Bully in June. The rest of the movies will trickle in to the two networks throughout 2010 and 2011.

A $12 million Lionsgate movie package was sold to TBS and sister network TNT, and includes titles such as Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's Little Girls, Bernie Mac's Pride and Bill Engvall's Delta Force.

Rush Hour 3 from New Line begins airing in 2010, Fracture begins in 2009.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

No recent announcements.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

No recent announcements.