NEW YORK — Lifetime, reinforcing its commitment to high-visibility original weekly series, has given full-season renewals to its entire Tuesday primetime block of “Any Day Now,” “Maggie” and “Oh Baby.”
The renewals, which will extend the life of each of the three series from 13 weeks to 22 weeks, were not a foregone conclusion because the average household rating of the three shows has been lukewarm. The 1.5 Nielsen rating in cable homes for the first five weeks of the two-hour Tuesday lineup is actually 7% lower than the 1.6 rating Lifetime was averaging with rerun TV movies in the third quarter of 1997.
But Doug McCormick, president and CEO of Lifetime, says Lifetime sells its advertising spots on demographics, not household numbers. And in women 18 to 49, the two-hour block is up a dramatic 45%, averaging a 1.3 rating in cable homes compared with only a 0.9 rating for the third quarter a year ago.
Aaron Spelling Prods.’ hourlong drama “Any Day Now” is far and away the most successful of the trio, harvesting a 1.9 average household rating in cable homes and a 1.6 rating among women 18 to 49.
By comparison, the two comedies “still haven’t got traction yet,” McCormick says. “Maggie,” from Paramount TV, is averaging only a 1.2 rating in cable homes for the first five weeks, and Columbia TriStar TV’s “Oh Baby” is at a 1.1 rating. Both are averaging a 1.1 rating among women 18 to 49.
Lifetime is ponying up a record budget of close to $8 million just to market and promote the three series.