The USA Network might be one of the best performers when it comes to ratings, but in 2010 the network is shaking up their programming strategy.
The network which often dominates the basic cable ratings is walking away from its prime time Friday nights, moving it original programming and dramas to nights of the week when more people watch television.
The Associated Press reports:
Hammer said she has a 16-year-old son who has asked her mom why “White Collar” was on Friday nights, saying his friends would otherwise watch the show.
Instead, they’re out. Or, like many adults, they’re catching up on what was recorded that week on DVR.
Those are some reasons why the bigger broadcast networks have de-emphasized Fridays over the past few years. USA has used that to its advantage by offering some of its most popular programs that night as an alternative.
The struggles of corporate sister NBC with the just-cancelled “Jay Leno Show” also convinced USA that more people interested in drama series might be available at 10 p.m. on weeknights, Hammer said. Both companies are owned by NBC Universal.
USA also programs original shows on Sundays, where “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “In Plain Sight” are most likely to land. The popular WWE professional wrestling airs on Mondays, and the original show “Burn Notice” will stay on Thursdays, with new episodes beginning this week.
The typical strategy for cable networks is to build on successes, not fiddle with them. Walking away from Friday nights could be a risky move for USA, said Marc Berman, a television analyst for Media Week Online.
However the move may prove useful for its sister network Sy Fy which has been continuously hammered on the Friday night time slot, especially one of its flagship shows Stargate Universe.
Stargate Universe has struggled to maintain its viewer ship audience in the face of stiff competition from its network rivals, with the mid season finale justice pulling in an all time low of 1.34 million viewers.
Only time will tell if the strategy proves a success for the Sy Fy channel and the Stargate franchise.