Warner Bros. Discovery has taken a divide-and-conquer strategy when it comes to “Impractical Jokers.”
The show, a programming mainstay on the cable network TruTv for ten seasons, has been airing on both Tru and TBS since launching its most recent cycle in early February of 2023. During that run, the show has largely seen viewership increase on TBS week over week, according to data from Nielsen, except for the week of March 2. While its run on Tru has been a little choppier over its first month on air, viewership of the episodes has widened noticeably when viewership over a three-day period is taken into consideration. The launch of the tenth season has also boosted viewership of linear repeats as well as streams on HBO Max, according to Nielsen data reviewed by Variety.
“Impractical Jokers” has been an integral piece of TruTV, helping the network pivot from its identity as the old legal-watchdog hub CourtTV to a network focused on comedy and reality programs that have over the years included “The Carbonaro Effect” and “Adam Ruins Everything.” In “Jokers,” the members of a long-running improvisational comedy troop try to embarrass one another with a series of public pranks and stunts.
Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment on the show’s recent ratings and the decision to simulcast this season’s episodes over two different networks each Thursday night at 10 p.m.
But the strategy suggests there may be new ways to use simulcasts, typically utilized by media companies to generate bigger viewership for singular events, such as the MTV Video Music Awards, simulcast over 13 different Paramount Global networks last year. In 2015, the same company, then known as Viacom, simulcast the debut of Trevor Noah’s run on “The Daily Show” across MTV, VH1 and other cable siblings.
The technique has been deployed with more sophistication in recent years when it comes to sports. Disney’s ESPN has begun to offer tailored simulcasts of “Monday Night Football,” UFC matches and even golf. One of the feeds, usually shown on ESPN, is for general sports fans, while the other, often displayed on ESPN2, is for hard-core aficionados.
On TBS, “Impractical Jokers” saw its viewership among people between 18 and 49, the viewers most desired by advertisers, increase 44% in the second week of its tenth season. In the third week, viewership in the category rose 8%. While audience in the advertiser demo fell off 28% in the fourth week, it rose 12% during the week of May 9. Viewership on Tru in the category, has been more in flux, though it climbed 28% during the week of May 9.
The “Jokers” will get another spotlight in days to come. On April 1, TruTv will feature a marathon of the program that lasts from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m., featuring “The Impractical Jokers: The Movie” followed by more traditional episodes of the series.
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