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 male networks. Today, it’s older-skewing male networks.
ESPN2 is the top ranked network in the category. Its ratings delivery is virtually unchanged since last year. In recent years, ESPN2 has broadcast increasingly more mainstream sporting events, including Major League Baseball games, The East-West Shrine Game, Major League Soccer, NCAA Basketball games, the
WNBA, the Arena Football League, NASCAR Nationwide Series races on Saturday afternoons, the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open Tennis.
Most of ESPN’s soccer output is broadcast on ESPN2. This includes Major League Soccer, Barclays Premier League games that are broadcast on ESPN UK, two dozen La Liga matches, and the United States’ 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
After ESPN became part of a new broadcast contract with NASCAR, ESPN2 also premiered the new daily show NASCAR Now (similar to the previous RPM 2Night, except the focus is solely on NASCAR).
In 2003, ESPN2 began broadcasting Major League Lacrosse games. In March 2007, both parties agreed on a contract that extends through 2016.
A new weekday afternoon block (from 3-6pm) will launch on September 12th. Here’s a look at the lineup: Numbers Don’t Lie (3:30pm) will tackle the biggest sports stories of the day by providing historical and numerical perspective with a host to be named who will be joined by a former player and an expert.
Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable (4pm) is hosted by Miami Herald sportswriter, radio host and TV personality. Le Batard provides a critical and sometimes controversial perspective on the world of professional sports.
Sports Nation will air at 5pm followed by NASCAR Now and Around the Horn. Popular ESPN afternoon show Jim Rome is Burning rounds out the channel’s 3-6pm afternoon schedule.
Details regarding the fate of the Scott Van Pelt Show, which has been airing at 3pm, have yet to be revealed. National Geographic’s primetime ratings are pretty much on par with last season. The network’s median age has increased by two years to 51.
New series in development all fall into one of Nat Geo’s programming categories: Adrenaline, Extreme Engineering, Great Quests, and Sci-Tech.
Adrenalin: Alaska Wing Men is about the pilots who transport critical supplies and rescuing the lost and injured in areas where only planes can reach. American Knights in the U.S. features Charlie Andrews who wants to bring the sport of jousting out of the Renaissance fair and into primetime. Drugs, Inc. goes inside the drug market business following the trail starting with a farm and ending with a dealer. Frontier Force follows Sheriff Mike McKeekin and his deputies as they bring law and order to the state of Montana.
Sci-Tech: CSI Me follows forensic experts as they piece together the life stories of people they have never met by examining the chemical composition of their hair, scars and more. Mad Scientists is hosted by John Bowler who introduces viewers to a group of amateur inventors, weekend scientists and eccentrics.
Rocket Men focuses on a family from Alabama who are all NASA rocket scientists.
The Indestructibles features scientists and experts who delve into the science of defying death in various situations by studying the persons who survived. The Witch Doctor Will See You Now is hosted by Piers Gibbon as he leads a group of ordinary people with serious medical conditions to exotic locales around the world to seek the advice of healers, priests and witch doctors.
Great Quests: History Cold Case follows a group of forensic investigators as they examine historical artifacts and relics of people who lived through some of the greatest moments in history. The Truth Behind focuses on a team of scientific investigators track down the burning mysteries of the ages such as the Loch Ness Monster and Atlantis.
Extreme Engineering: Rocked treks with engineers as they travel the world securing unstable cliffs and slopes. The Link follows the chain reaction of inventions and events that led to the modern innovations we depend on today.
The network also aired its annual Expedition Week showcasing 13 premieres over seven nights beginning April 3rd at 9pm. National Geographic Channel is also bringing back several series: Alaska State Troopers, Border Wars, Inside, Locked Up Abroad, Taboo, Wild Justice Beast Hunter, Ultimate Factories,
and Shark Men.
Nat Geo Wild celebrated its first anniversary at the end of March. The network focuses on natural history as well as an up-close and personal look at the animal kingdom.
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan will be back with a new season of challenging dog cases. Also back are Caught in the Act, Dangerous Encounters and Swamp Men.
The network will be adding several new series to its 2011/12 schedule including America the Wild with Casey Anderson, which follows him during his wild explorations traveling across the U.S. to many of our national parks. Bush Cowboy with Matt Wright features Wright and his dog, Nash as they track and
relocate ferocious beasts such as crocodiles and white sharks.
Dr. Pol’s Big Farm is a four-episode miniseries that follows the farm vet as he travels across rural Michigan to care for both family pets and livestock. Man-Eater Manhunt is about cameraman Gordon Buchanan who risks his life travelling into the hunting grounds of grizzlies, tigers, and other deadly animals. Philly Undercover follows a specialized team of Philadelphia police officers who use high-tech surveillance equipment to protect man from himself going into dog fighting rings, illegal exotic pet traders and dealers.
Speed Channel is the destination for car lovers and race car enthusiasts. While Speed’s ratings have remained consistent versus last year, the network’s median age has aged up by four years to 52.
Here’s a look at what’s in store for 2011/2012. Speed will feature at least 25 hours of NASCAR programming on the weekends. The network will also be programming some original primetime content: Car Warriors is a new competition series that features the greatest car builders who compete against each other to build a car from scratch in 72 hours. American Trucker is hosted by truck expert Robb Mariani who introduces the audience to iconic trucks, the famous routes they followed, and the cargo missions that made history. Car Science is a series which answers all the questions about automobiles.
Ticket to Ride takes car lovers inside the business of cars, offering insightful test drives, interviews and commentary. New shows coming down the pike for Speed include The Car Show, The Ultimate Gymkhana, Whipped, Come Drive With Me and Stump the Junkies.
HII (formerly known as History International), is the latest AETN re-branding effort, which will morph History International to HII (H-Two). The new brand will focus on providing deeper exploration into some of the bigger topics presented on the History mother-ship. HII will bear a close resemblance to the way History Channel once was prior to its own re-branding. Programming staples, The Universe and Modern Marvels will shift to HII.
The Military Channel
The Military Channel is devoted exclusively to honoring and recognizing the U.S. Military from the past to the present. It showcases real-world stories of heroism, military strategy, technological breakthroughs, and significant turning points in
history. The channel has partnered with the G.I. Film Festival, which is devoted to the heroic service of American service members.
Returning Series: An Officer and a Movie pairs Hollywood actor and Navy brat Lou Diamond Phillips with retired and active duty officers who lived through major battles or have an expertise in the conflicts depicted in notable Hollywood films. During the telecast of the classic movie, these officers will provide expert commentary. Movie titles include Three Kings, Windtalkers, The Dirty Dozen, and The Big Red One.
Missions that Changed the War is hosted by actor Gary Sinise. The series recounts the covert operations and brave soldiers that altered the face of World War II. The show will be divided into three separate four-hour miniseries, consisting of: The Doolittle Raid, a seemingly insignificant mission that was designed to boost American morale but in retrospect had a vital effect on the war with Japan; Germany’s Last Ace, is a first-person account of Gunter Rall, the most decorated aviator in Hitler’s Luftwaffe; and The Flying Tigers, a series of bombing missions that prevented the fall of China. Greatest Tank Battles brings to life the most gripping and monumental battles ever fought on the front lines with these weapons on wheels.
New Series: Triggers, hosted by Wil Willis, former U.S. Army Ranger and Air Force Pararescueman, is about firearms connections that changed the world. Every episode tells the story of one weapon that transformed warfare, giving viewers key insight to both the history and technology of these revolutionary innovations.
Channel Initiatives: Military Channel is supporting the Joining Forces campaign to generate awareness and support for returning troops and America’s military families. The Channel is producing an original PSA, in coordination with Skills for America’s Future, focused on expanding employment for veterans and their spouses, as well as featuring Send a Salute on-air crawls and social media messages of user-generated salutes in support of military families. Additionally, An Officer and a Movie host Lou Diamond Phillips will regularly reference info about available resources for the Joining Forces campaign during the show.
The Military Channel has also teamed up with The American Legion, the country’s largest veteran’s service organization, which has about 2.5 million members worldwide, to honor troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including three soldiers who never made it back home. In a series of 10, one minute vignettes, American Heroes tells the dramatic and poignant stories of those who fell in battle, suffered severe injuries, helped repair war-torn communities, or made it home to help other wounded warriors.
Operation Baghdad Pups is the name of the channel’s partnership with the SPCA which tells the stories of military men and women who developed powerful and enduring relationships with dogs that they rescued while serving in Iraq. By the end of 2009, some 200 dogs and a small number of cats will have been rescued by the SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups which has been instrumental in arranging the safe transportation of many companion animals to the United States.
The Golf Channel
Golf Channel, which has been in existence since 1995, is the exclusive partner of the PGA tournament. The channel is the oldest skewing and lowest rated in the older male skewing category. Golf Channel is programmed specifically for the hard core golf fan, hence its niche appeal.
Its merger with NBC Sports group will expand the channel’s golf coverage (47 tournaments in total), with the first two rounds of PGA events to be shown exclusively on Golf Channel. The latter rounds will air on NBC.
Part of the goal of the merger with NBC was to provide consistent PGA coverage, as well as a seamless look between the two networks. Accordingly, coverage on NBC also displays the Golf Channel logo alongside the NBC peacock.
In addition to showing live rounds of golf on Thursdays and Fridays, the channel will also air pre- and post-round coverage for all PGA events. Here’s a look at the upcoming slate for 2011/12:
Returning shows: State of the Game is a round table discussion consisting of golf experts who get together to discuss the latest stories and developments. Morning Drive is a talk show that covers all golf topics. Live From, one of the best performers on the channel, provides live coverage from major PGA events. Big Break is a competition series that pits aspiring golfers against each other as they try to reach their dreams of becoming professional golfers. Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf takes a look at the real estate mogul’s love and obsession with the game.
Next up: Younger Skewing Entertainment Networks