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TruTV Analysis


Original series dominate truTV's primetime schedule.   On a given night, a single original series will tend to run in a solid block throughout primetime.  There's a heavy reliance on blue collar reality (HARDCORE PAWN, OPERATION REPO, etc), while comedic video clip properties and a handful of other series fill out the remainder of the schedule.

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network creates a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  Additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like OPERATION REPO, they move it into a regular timeslot.

Since its 2008 rebranding, truTV has maintained a dedication to reality programming with a special focus on repo and pawning.  Recently the network has incorporated more unscripted comedy to complement its existing reality fare.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

While you’d be shortchanging truTV to suggest that it was solely dependent on HARDCORE PAWN for success, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. The number of new PAWN dropped off this month, as did the network’s ratings – both the monthly and yearly ratings suffered.

PAWN closed out its sixth season and featured only one premiere episode. The season finale rated well with viewers but could not stave off the inevitable: the series experienced a significant, 33% drop among men 25-54 compared to last month.

Despite a dearth of new material, 11 PAWN episodes (10 of them reruns) cracked the network’s listing of top 20 telecasts. Clearly, a massive appetite for the show still exists. truTV is all too aware of PAWN’S impact on its success – there is generally only a month gap between seasons. Tuesdays, which feature PAWN, were down 29% among men 18 – 49 and 33% among men 25 – 54.

Although most nights of the week were down from monthly and yearly standpoints, Wednesdays enjoyed a boost. Wednesdays aired truTV’s second most watched program of the month: OPERATION REPO. The show also trended in the right direction – each consecutive episode of REPO improved upon the ratings of its predecessor. REPO is in good health 10 seasons and nearly 150 episodes later.

SOUTH BEACH TOW rounded out the list of shows that had satisfactory performances. BEACH was second only to PAWN in terms of number of telecasts within the top 20 telecasts. BEACH also aired on Wednesdays.

The rest of the schedule was less encouraging. The worst of the bunch were TOP 20 MOST SHOCKING and WORLD’S DUMBEST. Each of these clip shows typically have a tough time keeping pace with the big boys. The clip show is a bit of an outmoded format for a network centering on trade-based reality.

Acquired show WIPEOUT (which will continue to seem out of place until truTV premieres the game shows it currently has in development) did not fare well in October. WIPEOUT was down 44% among men 18 – 49 and 36% among men 25 – 54 from last year.
STORAGE HUNTERS and IMPRACTICAL JOKERS were both in reruns and had understandably lower ratings than usual.