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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 / December 2012 vs. December 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

In 2012, TLC continued to pursue reality programs with a focus on extreme subcultures. They hit the jackpot with HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO.

In December, however, the network was BOO BOO-less and suffered a poor month.
Yet while the network was down compared to November, it did manage to stay flat with last year among female viewers.

The clear ratings winner of the month was SISTER WIVES. The show, which brought its fourth season to a close in December, was responsible for the network’s top seven telecasts. The season finale was especially popular, earning impressive ratings with women in both the 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 demo.

Sundays, which aired premiere episodes of WIVES, was easily the network’s strongest night of the week. Despite this, Sundays were down from last month, which were aided by the popular BREAKING AMISH.

There’s an appreciable drop-off between telecasts of WIVES and everything else on the December schedule. The remainder of the primetime programming slate was generally tepid with a few exceptions.

SAY YES TO THE DRESS began its ninth season in late December and earned decent ratings among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54. Viewership of DRESS among women 18 – 49 stayed even with November (which aired the final episodes of the preceding season.)

UNTOLD STORIES OF THE ER was another of the network’s stronger performers. Though WIVES claimed the top seven telecasts for the month, ER was able to nab the following three – rounding out the top ten. ER found a slightly larger audience among women 25 – 54.

TODDLERS & TIARAS returned to TLC following a hiatus dividing its fifth season. The return of the show injected some life into Wednesdays – the night was up 20% among women 18 – 49 from the month before.

Wednesdays also featured brand new show CHEER PERFECTION. Cheer earned fair ratings, but not nearly enough viewers to distinguish itself from the long list of TLC shows that consistently earn good (but not great) ratings.

In 2013, TLC will continue to strengthen its schedule with more reality shows that spotlight extreme or obscure subcultures.