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Thursday, April 19, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL Battleground Ratings Down Slightly
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Episode Four of IFL Battleground on MyNetworkTV drew an overall rating of 0.7 on Monday, April 9th. The show drew its smallest average audience to date, just 977,000 viewers, while also drawing its highest ratings to date in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.

The four original episodes of IFL Battleground that have aired thus far have drawn overall ratings of 0.8, 0.7, 0.8, and 0.7. Although an improvement, this is not drastically different than MyNetworkTV's average of 0.5 overall on Monday nights in February before the IFL debuted on the network.

In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, which is the specific demographic that the IFL was brought in to draw for the struggling network, the first four episodes of IFL Battleground have drawn ratings of 0.7, 0.6, 0.8, and 0.8. This is a drastic increase from MyNetworkTV's previous average rating in the demographic, which was a paltry 0.2. With 18 episodes out of Battleground's 22-episode order yet to air, there is still plenty of time for potential ratings increases or decreases, depending on whether the show keeps its audience coming back for more each week.

Four days earlier in the same time slot (8:00 PM to 10:00 PM), albeit on a different night of the week, the live premiere of UFC Fight Night 9 drew an average of 1.6 million viewers on Spike TV, compared to 977,000 viewers for Episode Four of IFL Battleground.

In an attempt to further increase its ratings in April and especially in the May sweeps period, MyNetworkTV has ordered nine prime time specials to air in late April and May, including "Hawaiian Tropic International Beauty Pageant," "Ujena Bikini Jam," "Body Doubles: International Twins Search," "America's Trashiest Weddings," "Britney Spears: A Pop Idol Exposed" (no relation to the preceding special), "The Hooters Dream Girl Challenge," "Anna Nicole Smith: Centerfold Revisited," "Night of a Million Laughs: Comics Unleashed," and "Eddie Murphy: 25th Anniversary of 'Delirious.'"

The ratings success or failure of these specials, as well as IFL Battleground, could play a significant role in Fox's decision on whether to bring back MyNetworkTV for a second season this fall. If MyNetworkTV does come back in the fall, it is almost certain that the network would be interested in bringing back IFL Battleground for a second season.

Airing head-to-head with IFL Battleground on April 9th from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, a 90-minute installment of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" was the most-watched show on television, as it drew a 12.2 overall rating for an episode that included a guest appearance by UFC fighter Randy Couture. Following Dancing with the Stars on ABC was a 90-minute installment of "The Bachelor," the first 30 minutes of which drew a 6.7 overall rating head-to-head with the IFL.

Coming in second place on the night was CBS, which struggled with the first half of its comedy block, as "How I Met Your Mother" drew a 5.0 overall rating and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" drew a 4.8 overall rating, but rebounded strongly with the second half of its comedy block, as "Two and a Half Men" drew an 8.4 overall rating and "King of Queens" drew an 8.6 overall rating. Coming in third place was Fox with a repeat of "House" (4.9 overall rating) and a new episode of "24" (7.2 overall rating). Coming in last place among the Big Four networks was NBC, as a new episode of "Deal or No Deal" drew a 6.8 overall rating and the premiere of "Thank God You're Here" drew a 5.8 overall rating in its first hour.

On Monday, April 2nd, the IFL chose to air a repeat episode of Battleground instead of a new episode, due to the fact that it had to go head-to-head with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Finals on CBS. As it turned out, the Tournament Finals broadcast was the night's #1 show in the young adult male demographic, but it suffered a rare defeat in the overall ratings, with an 11.4 overall rating compared to Dancing with the Stars' 11.9 overall rating. The repeat airing of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7 overall rating on April 2nd, which is the same rating that a new episode of the series drew on April 9th.

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