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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 April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

For the second month running, truTV was down in both the monthly and yearly ratings among men 18 – 49 and 25 – 54. Not even the return of HARDCORE PAWN was able to forestall a 17% drop in male viewership among both 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 compared to last year. In terms of month-to-month ratings, men 18 – 49 were down 23% while men 25 – 54 fell 17%.

Overall, PAWN was the second most watched show of the month – quite a feat considering the program aired a total of 49 telecasts. The program, which holds widespread appeal, received equal ratings among both key male age demos. The program also garnered the most viewed telecast and six of its telecasts landed within the top ten (with men 18 – 49 and 25 – 54). Most impressively, PAWN earned its highest viewership among 18 – 49 men ever with its seventh season premiere. Despite this strong performance, PAWN was down by 24% in both age demos compared to last year.

STORAGE HUNTERS – which aired a single telecast over the course of the month – was truTV’s most watched program overall. Among men, the show skewed toward 25 – 54-year-olds. April’s single telecast of the show was HUNTERS' season three finale, which fared slightly better with the older demo than the second season’s closing episode.

LIZARD LICK TOWING closed out its third season this April as well. TOWING’S April eps, which skewed slightly toward younger men, were down 8% and 15% among men 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively compared to March.

OPERATION REPO – now in its 11th season – lagged behind truTV’s stronger offerings, ending up in the middle of the pack overall. Wednesdays, which featured the show, was one of the network’s weaker nights. Compared to last year, REPO’s viewership among 18 – 49 men was down 11% while its ratings with the 25 – 54 demo remained unchanged.

WORLD’S DUMBEST, which aired on Thursdays, was down roughly 25% from both a monthly and yearly standpoint in both male age demos. Nevertheless, it did earn the network’s highest ratings for a non-trade based reality show.

There’s a clear divide between truTV’s scheduling slate in terms of both theme and popularity: all of the network’s blue collar reality shows beat out the comedy/clip-based scheduling.

IMPRACTICAL JOKERS (strictly featuring reruns) and WIPEOUT (acquired) both outperformed the struggling GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS and UPLOAD WITH SHAQ. Since their respective premieres, both shows have failed to amass much of an audience. Unfortunately for SHAQ (which featured four new episodes throughout the month), its ratings were trumped by reruns of RECORDS.

Marc Juris, the man credited with reinventing truTV and bringing PAWN to the channel has recently exited the network. With the departure of the visionary behind truTV’s rebranding, the network finds itself poised at a crossroad. A recent press release declared that truTV will strive to cater to a “funseeker” audience.