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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 / January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

January proved to be a wobbly start for TLC, with ratings down from both a yearly and monthly standpoint. Despite the poor performance overall, HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO earned very impressive ratings.

BOO, which closed out its notorious first season back in September, returned with a couple of holiday-themed specials in January. Any fear that America had wearied of the Thompson clan can be put to bed. The program’s return episode – a Halloween special – was BOO’S most popular telecast to date. Not only the most viewed episode, the Halloween special also blew the original premiere out of the water.

BOO BOO’s second new episode, a Thanksgiving themed special, was unable to match the record numbers of the preceding episode. Nevertheless, the special was extremely strong, especially with women 18 – 49. Sundays, which were the most watched night of the week were up 29% and 7% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively from last year (which featured a variety of programs including HOARDING, JIG, and ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM).

SAY YES TO THE DRESS, which aired on Friday nights, continued with its ninth season. The program was up significantly from December: 64% among women 18 – 49 and 89% among women 25 – 54. The show was dominant on TLC’s schedule: six of the network’s top seven telecasts were DRESS episodes.

DRESS spinoff RANDY KNOWS BEST returned for a second season in January. The program’s ratings among women were very comparable to the original series’ numbers. RANDY had only slightly less 18 – 49 viewers than DRESS and slightly more in the 25 – 54 range. Collectively, DRESS and RANDY comprised 14 of the network’s top 20 telecasts.

TLC tested the waters for new concept BEST FUNERAL EVER by airing one episode of the new show in January. While not record-breaking, FUNERAL fared with female viewers – especially among women 18 – 49. The show revolves around a funeral home that caters to the outlandish funeral requests of the deceased. Though many were leery of the show (which was postponed following the Newton tragedy), it has widely been regarded as more tasteful than expected.

TODDLERS & TIARAS spinoff CHEER PERFECTION, which debuted in December, was unable to maintain its ratings from the previous month. The show was down 21% with women 18 – 49 and 19% with women 25 – 54. Apparently, TODDLER spinoffs (such as BOO) do not automatically translate to ratings gold. On the bright side, CHEER’S ratings are not in freefall: the numbers have leveled off since dropping from December. The original TODDLERS managed to stay level with the ratings of the previous month.

CAKE BOSS was one TLC program that took a hit in the ratings in January. The long-running show was down in both the monthly and yearly ratings. Compared to January of last year, BOSS was down an equal 47% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54. The monthly drop was a little less severe: 36% (18 – 49) and 31% (25 – 54).

Brand new shows PLASTIC WIVES and THE SISTERHOOD shared nearly identical ratings among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 which were in turn comparable to TODDLERS.