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TLC Analysis


TLC focuses on character and story driven reality programming with occasional topical specials like the recent EXTREME COUPONING and WILLIAM & KATE: A ROYAL LOVE STORY.  The schedule tends toward stacking by theme or editorial sensibility, rather than by title alone. They do not strip. Weekends have recently transitioned from mostly one-off hours to primarily regular programming.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

For better or worse, HONEY BOO BOO hysteria has descended upon TV land. Though some question The Learning Channel’s choice of HONEY as a source of edification, the show’s success isn’t up for debate.

After taking television and social media by storm last month, HONEY has continued to expand – permeating the last vestiges of pop culture consciousness. Though the show was not technically TLC’s highest rated program for September, HONEY’s top two telecasts were the network’s highest rated broadcasts among women 18 – 49. Ratings for premiere episodes of show were up from last month, hinting that the HONEY juggernaut has only begun to build momentum.

Overall viewership was down for HONEY 3% and 16% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively. However, this can be attributed to the fact that the show aired substantially more reruns than the month prior. TLC has already promised Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas specials to tide rabid viewers over until the Honey Boo Boo Child returns for season two.

LONG ISLAND MEDIUM owned the distinction of being the most watched program on a very good month for TLC (the network was up from both a yearly and monthly standpoint). The show returned this September with a doubleheader special. Both episodes were greatly popular with women in both the 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 demos. The fact that the show was up roughly 30% (from last year) in both these demos only added to TLC’s ample good fortune.

And the hits just kept on coming for TLC – September also saw the arrival of the network’s latest controversy in a can BREAKING AMISH. The new show was the second most watched program after MEDIUM. Though some critics impugned the legitimacy of the cast’s Amish heritage, it was not enough to deter viewership. All four of the show’s premiere episodes ranked within TLC’s top ten telecasts of the month.

But not all the news could be good. I FOUND THE GOWN performed respectably but was down among women in general and fell especially hard with the 25 – 54 demo (17%). SAY YES TO THE DRESS: ATLANTA, which shared Thursday nights with GOWN, fared marginally worse.

Response to new show ABBY & BRITTANY (an unscripted show about conjoined twins) was solid but incomparable to TLC’s most popular new shows. That said, ABBY did perform better than fellow new shows UNITED BATES OF AMERICA and BLING IT ON.