Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce
Just a thought… maybe you want to tuck the kids into bed before you turn on Bravo’s, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” — an original scripted-series with a heavy dose of adult-themed content. Indeed, Bravo’s hit show is about as risqué as ad-supported cable gets before it falls under the pay (premium-cable) category. Which is fine by Bravo’s standards – the network has been creating provocative content for women of a certain age for several years now, starting with the “Desperate Housewives” franchise. If you think of Bravo as a network brand, then “Girlfriends’ ” represents a line extension that fits quite comfortably into the network’s current programming line-up.
The show (now entering its third season with a premiere date of January 11th) is a take-off on the real-life “Girlfriends’ Guide” books by the author, Vicky Iovine, who has penned several advice books on such topics as pregnancy; motherhood; toddlers; baby gear, etc. Vicky Iovine’s TV stand-in fictional character — and star of the entire show — is the very fine actress, Lisa Edelstein (of “House” fame) who plays Abby McCarthy – the feel-good, self-help book author who cheerfully doles out advice based upon the “perfect” family life she leads at home.
But things are far from perfect for Abby McCarthy. Her stay-at-home (i.e., not working) husband, Jake (played by the actor Paul Adelstein) is in the midst of a hot-and-heavy affair with a younger woman (Becca Riley, played by the actress Julianna Guill.) And, while Abby has not committed adultery in the technical sense of the term, she has in fact been carrying on a serious spiritual-emotional affair with another man.
It all comes crashing down on Abby on her book tour when (under the influence of a heavy sedative) she accidentally blurts out the truth about her sham marriage by saying that things would be so much better if her husband would just die! Sure enough, the confession goes viral and with it her entire career.
This (at times) raunchy, yet also subtle comedy-drama has delivered solid (not great) ratings over the past two seasons. And even though Year Two levels declined moderately from the premiere season, “Girlfriends’ ” still captured an audience 20% higher than Bravo’s average rating for the network’s 10pm time slot:
The ratings above reflect Live-only viewing, but when we look at DVR playback we find that “Girlfriends’ “ ratings rise more than two-and-one-half times based on 15-Day playback levels (1.39 rating) – a sure sign of viewer interest and engagement in the show:
Upscale Homes & Education
Audiences to “Girlfriends’“ are generally upscale with the highest household ratings accruing to homes with an annual income ranging from $175,000 to $200,000 (159 Index):
Local Cable Advertising
Over the first two seasons, “Girlfriends’ “ has attracted 75 local cable advertisers who have ordered nearly 500 units across twenty-eight Viamedia markets (~40% of Viamedia’s national footprint.) That comes to an average of over six commercial units per advertiser. (Source: B.I.G.SM database — Copyright © 2017 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
And in terms of product categories, Automotive captures the highest share of local cable investments on “Girlfriends’ “ (31%) – which is a few percentage points lower than what we normally see for this category company-wide. The second highest category, Medical & Health Care at 17% share is nearly three-times the level company-wide. Other categories over-represented in the show include Furniture & Floor Coverings (9%), Retail & Department Stores (8%) and Financial Services (6%):
On to Season Three
The bigwigs at Bravo sure ain’t foolin’ around with this show. Just weeks after Season Two ended, they renewed “Girlfriends’ “ – not just for another season – but for at least three more, which will extend the show until at least 2019! And there’s a reason for that. It would have been very easy for a show like “Girlfriends’ “ to descend into a raunchy sit-com, but the writers and directors were way too smart for that. They found a perfect (empathetic) lead for the entire show – Lisa Edelstein – not to mention a wonderful supporting cast of characters who guide Abby McCarthy as she goes about re-establishing her life and her career. It is all done with a large measure of humor and drama leavened with a dollop of compassion and complexity.
Written by Jonathan Sims
VP of Media Research, Viamedia