Fall primetime insights: Older-skewing female networks


Baseline Intelligence Media analysts Steve Sternberg and Shari Anne Brill have teamed for their latest report, Primetime TV Insight: The 2011 Fall TV Preview Edition. This is their take on the new fall shows. Yesterday we looked at Younger-skewing female networks. Today, it’s Older-skewing female networks:

Every network in this group has a median age of at least 49, and has its strongest ratings among women 50+. HGTV is the oldest skewing and highest rated network in the category, due largely to its strength among women 50+. The network’s top performer, Design Star, returns for a sixth season in July.

Another top HGTV series, Holmes on Homes, will be back as well.

New shows coming your way during summer 2011 include:
Room Crashers – Todd Davis searches stores across the US for weekend DIYers who can use some design help.

My Yard Goes Disney – this half-hour series has HGTV partnering with Disney Parks to surprise lucky homeowners with a backyard makeover inspired by Disney characters.

House Hunters on Vacation – In each episode, host Taniya Nayak will send one family on the trip of a lifetime to visit their exotic destination of choice to tour three dream homes (they will get to live in one of them for a week).

HGTV’d – The channel takes to the road in an 18-wheeler showing up on the doorsteps of homeowners who receive a dream makeover.

Home By Novogratz – The series follows design team of Robert and Cortney Novogratz as they juggle seven children and many clients.

Run My Makeover – This new interactive series incorporates HGTV.com where viewers can see photos and videos of a homeowner’s room and add their input on the design elements.

New series that will be launching in fall 2011 include:
Dina’s Party – A party and special events planning series which features Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Dina Manzo and her event company, Design Affairs.

All American Handyman – This new competition series challenges 20 contestants to find out which one is the best non-professional handyman.

The High Low Project – Sabrina Soto hosts this series where she replaces high-budget items in a room with low-budget items that look expensive.

Selling LA – follows three real estate firms as they work in the competitive and high-end real estate world of L.A.

At one time Lifetime was the flagship women’s network, and at one time was the highest rated cable network. Over the past several years, however, its ratings have slipped as a number of other female-oriented networks (and its own movie network) siphoned off viewers.

Lifetime is still the top-ranked network in the category, however, among both women 18-34 and 18-49. The acquisition of the popular Project Runway (which has been picked up for a ninth season) helped reverse the downturn. The network was also helped by the scripted drama Army Wives (its highest rated series). Wives, which recently concluded season five, was renewed for a sixth season.

The third season of Drop Dead Diva is currently down sharply from last year.

Reality series One Born Every Minute and Coming Home were both recently renewed.

Lifetime’s other original series, Rita Rocks and Sherri, were less successful, and both have been canceled.

Its female skewing off-network series, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace, Medium, and Wife Swap are modest performers. Reba remains Lifetime’s strongest off-network series.

Four new series (two scripted, two unscripted) have joined the schedule during Spring/Summer 2011:
The Protector (which launched on June 12th) is a drama about divorced mom (Ally Walker) who juggles her stressful job as a LAPD homicide detective with that of raising her two sons. She’s helped by her troubled younger brother.

Lifetime can certainly use another original scripted drama success – but this may not be it, if the initial ratings are any indication (neither the promos nor the pilot were very interesting). The premiere posted an anemic 1.9 million total viewers (Army Wives gets about 3.6 million viewers). By the third episode, its total viewers declined to 1.2 million). It was just announced that Patty Duke has been cast in the recurring role as the mom of Ally Walker’s character. We doubt that Duke, who shows up in episode seven, will ignite more interest in the series. Against the Wall (Summer 2011) stars Rachael Carpani, Treat Williams and Kathy Baker in a drama centered on Chicago police detective Abby Kowalski (Carpani) who causes tension in her family of close-knit, blue collar cops when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs unit.

Vanished with Beth Holloway (May 2011) delves into true mysteries involving families who experienced unsolved abductions, disappearances and horrible crimes.

Love Handles (May 2011) is a docu-series that follows overweight couples during dual transformations as they explore what affects their well-being.

Lifetime’s development slate includes one new drama and lots of reality shows:
Modern Love is about a newspaper science editor who is immersed in a dissolving marriage and balancing his relationship with his adopted teenage daughter.

Brighton Beach follows the colorful people who live, love and work in this well-known Brooklyn neighborhood.

The Conversation offers a fresh approach to the female celebrity interview format.

Dance Moms focuses on overbearing mothers who push their daughters to perform while living out their own dreams vicariously through them.

The Day That Changed My Life shows in-depth interviews and reenactments that highlight true stories of ordinary people whose lives took unexpected and dramatic turns following accidents or surprise encounters with strangers.

Project Runway All Stars features memorable past contestants from the series who compete against one another all over again.

Project Accessory features innovative artists who create the latest in fashion accessory trends while competing for a cash prize to help launch their own business.

Roseanne’s Nuts is a docu-series that follows Emmy Award-winning Roseanne Barr as she manages her 40-acre macadamia and live stock farm in Hawaii with help from her longtime boyfriend and her son.

To Live & Buy – best friends and interior designers, Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen travel the US to find relics to restore and transform into beautiful and eclectic pieces for their LA home decor store.

The Tracey Gold Project – Tracey Gold hosts this series and relies on her personal experiences with battling anorexia to help other women overcome major eating disorders.

In original movie news, real-life couple Anne Heche and James Tupper are set to star in Lifetime movie Girl Fight, their first on-screen pairing since the ABC dramedy series Men In Trees, the show where they met. The movie is a dramatic re-telling of the harrowing story of Florida cheerleader Victoria Lindsay, a 16-year-old high school student whose life spirals downward when her “friends” brutally beat her and then upload a video of the attack onto the Internet.

Lifetime relies on numerous female skewing off-network series, such Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace, Medium, Wife Swap, and Reba across many of its dayparts. Ratings for recently launched acquired CBS comedy, How I Met Your Mother, have been lukewarm. The show appeals to a younger viewer than Lifetime’s typical audience. The 11pm start time doesn’t help.

While Lifetime still does have its signature Lifetime movies, much of that fare has been shifted to its sibling Lifetime Movie Network (whose ratings have been growing).

Hallmark Channel
Hallmark’s ratings have suffered significantly over the past few years. One of the oldest-skewing networks on TV (with an average median age over 60), Hallmark has lost a sizeable chunk of its men 50+ audience.

Movies remain its core franchise, along with off-network staples such as Touched by an Angel, Golden Girls, Murder, She Wrote, and 7th Heaven. Martha Stewart’s show opened up to mediocre ratings, which underperformed the audience to the overexposed (yet still popular) episodes of Golden Girls. The brand has been primarily associated with holidays, milestones, and celebrations.

At its March upfront event, Crown Media Holdings President and CEO Bill Abbott announced that the company is repositioning its television and online media assets under a new umbrella title, Crown Media Networks, replacing Hallmark Channels. A new logo was unveiled as well as fresh taglines for each network. Using the new slogan, “365 Ways to Celebrate” Hallmark will premiere 25 original movies throughout 2011-2012 coinciding with major holidays and comprising 500 hours of original content.

Titles include: Oliver’s Ghost (Q4 2011) – Martin Mull and Rhea Perlman star in this story about 11-year old Oliver and his ability to see ghosts; Christmas Returns to Canaan (Q4 2011) – Billy Ray Cyrus headlines this sequel to the 2009 movie; A Princess For Christmas (Q4 2011) – Sir Roger Moore and Katie McGrath star in this story set in England at Christmastime about a newly-appointed legal guardian who struggles to parent her niece and nephew after the death of their parents; Cancel Christmas  (December 2011) – Judd Nelson stars as Santa Claus who is told the holiday should be canceled because it has become too commercialized.

Hallmark has also acquired off-network rights to Frasier, which launched back in April. In addition, it has two Martha Stewart Presents primetime specials, one for Halloween and the second for Christmas.

“Stories That Connect” is the new tagline for the Hallmark Movie Channel. The channel became a Nielsen-rated network in second quarter 2010 and is now in 40 million homes. The network has eight new original movies lined up for the new

Oprah Winfrey’s new network, OWN, part of Discovery’s family of networks, launched back in January of the year. It has so far failed to generate strong ratings and has been trending just above its predecessor Discovery Health.

Dismal ratings and a disappointing development slate led to the departure of CEO, Christina Norman. Discovery Communications COO Peter Liguori has since taken over as interim CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, through 2012. It was just announced that Oprah Winfrey will expand her role as chairman of the network and become the permanent chief executive officer and chief creative officer, effective this fall. Additionally, all future television production at Harpo Studios will be directed exclusively to OWN.

Oprah’s direct involvement has been a critical element; viewers are less interested in what she does off-screen and far more interested in what she does her on-screen. Now that her syndicated show has ended its run, perhaps her face time will become more of a factor.

One of the first heavily promoted series, Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star never quite got off the ground. Oprah Presents Master Class has also disappointed. In more positive news, the network was pleased with the performance of Our America With Lisa Ling, (the first OWN series to get renewed), as well as Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes. Additional renewed series include: Ask Oprah’s All Stars, Enough Already!, and In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman. Despite low ratings, Oprah Presents Master Class has also been picked up for a second season.

In its first official upfront presentation since its launch, OWN announced the pickup of six new unscripted series, but made little reference to the new Oprah Winfrey-hosted series, which will launch in January 2012.

The network had a few recent modest successes in May 2011. The debut of new series, Why Not with Shania Twain, notched 839,000 thousand total viewers. OWN also recently aired the world television premiere of Becoming Chaz. The documentary told the story of Chaz Bono and his experience with his transgender process. It garnered over 700,000 thousand total viewers. The premiere of the Rosie O’Donnell-hosted Doc Club, which followed, brought in 428,000 thousand viewers,  representing a decline of nearly 40%.

The following series launched in June: Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal, a series which features couples who have suffered and survived infidelity in their marriages; the return of the Dr. Laura Berman Show; Visionaries, a documentary series featuring interviews with the likes of Tyler Perry and James Cameron, and Carson Nation, featuring Carson Kressley as he travels around the country to do makeovers.

Here are descriptions of the network’s newly picked-up shows:
Confronting is a series that documents the powerful and sometimes painful mediation process in which victim and offender come together in the hopes of achieving closure.

I Owe You My Life addresses real life heroism. The series will delve into the dramatic stories of everyday people from every corner of the world who take risky, even death-defying actions to protect others and right wrongs.

Louie Spence Dance Project focuses on the world-renowned choreographer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business.

My Mom And Me examines unusual mom-daughter relationships in which “normal boundaries” are challenged.

Sweetie Pies stars Robbie Montgomery, 60’s backup singer and former Ikette, suffered a collapsed lung and had to stop singing. She decided to pour her talents into another creative venture, a family-owned soul food restaurant.

All networks in this group get ratings among men at least 75% higher than among women, and have average median ages under 50.

Tomorrow: Younger-Skewing Male Networks