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Thursday, May 24, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter Ratings Flat at Midseason
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The sixth and seventh episodes of The Ultimate Fighter 5, both of which featured two fights instead of one, drew overall ratings of 1.2 and 1.1, respectively. The previous week's episode drew a 1.1 overall rating.
Episode Six aired on May 10th and featured two fights in order to make up for the editors' decision not to include a fight on the Gabe Ruediger-focused Episode Five.
The fight on Episode Six between Joe Lauzon and Brian Geraghty, which Lauzon dominated, drew a 1.1 rating, tied for the lowest of the season. However, this was to be expected because it aired near the beginning of the show, and the show's smallest viewership levels are almost always towards the beginning of any given episode.
Airing over the course of the second half of Episode Six, Corey Hill's controversial three-round judges' decision win over Robert Emerson drew a 1.3 rating. This was a slightly higher rating than the previous week's Ruediger-weight-cutting ending, which closed out with a 1.2 rating in the final minutes.
Episode Seven of TUF 5, which aired on May 17th, also featured two fights, largely because both of the fights ended up being so brief. Gray Maynard's domination of Wayne Weems did not air until the second half of the show, but the fight still only drew a 1.1 rating. Matt Wiman's equally impressive domination of Marlon Sims in the closing minutes of the show drew a 1.2 rating.
Key Demographic Ratings Up for Episodes Six and Seven, but Series-to-Date Averages Still Down Significantly
While the overall ratings of 1.2 and 1.1 for Episodes Six and Seven, respectively, are not much different than Episode Five's overall rating of 1.1, the ratings in the key demographics were slightly higher than Episode Five's. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode Five drew a 1.5 rating, Episode Six drew a 1.6 rating, and Episode Seven drew a 1.7 rating. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Five drew a 1.3 rating, Episode Six drew a 1.5 rating, and Episode Seven drew a 1.4 rating. Given the ratings free-fall that was taking place earlier in the season, this upward trend is encouraging.
However, TUF 5 continues to be the least-watched season of TUF to date by a good-sized margin. Through seven episodes, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.2 overall rating. At the same point in previous TUF seasons (seven episodes in), the first season was averaging a 1.6 overall rating, the second season was averaging a 1.5 overall rating, the third season was averaging a 1.7 overall rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 1.4 overall rating.
In the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.6 rating through seven episodes. At the same point in previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 2.0 rating, the second season was averaging a 2.6 rating, the third season was averaging a 2.9 rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 2.3 rating.
Hype for Episode Eight Promises a Fight at the House
The commercials for Episode Eight that have been running on Spike TV all week long clearly show a fight breaking out at the fighters' house between two fighters who appear to be Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas. It will be interesting to see how yet another "fight breaks out in the house" ad campaign will affect the ratings.
It will also be interesting to see how the UFC will handle the first full-fledged fight breaking out at the fighters' house in series history. Other fighters have been banished to the "you're no longer welcome in the UFC" territory for various reasons: Eli Joslin (who quit the show), Kenny Stevens (couldn't make weight), Noah Inhofer (quit the show), and Gabe Ruediger (couldn't make weight).
Head-to-Head Network Competition
New episodes of the pro wrestling show "TNA Impact" served as The Ultimate Fighter's lead-in on May 10th and 17th, and "Impact" drew a 1.0 overall rating on both of those weeks.
Airing head-to-head with Episode Six of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on May 10th at 10:00 PM, the CBS drama "Without a Trace" returned to its Thursday night roots and drew a 9.9 overall rating with its season finale. A new episode of "ER" on NBC drew a 6.2 overall rating, while the series premiere of the new drama "Traveler" flopped on ABC with a 6.1 overall rating, retaining less than half of its lead-in audience from "Grey's Anatomy."
Airing head-to-head with Episode Six of TUF 5 on May 17th, a repeat of "CSI" on CBS out-drew the season finale of "ER" on NBC, as "CSI" drew a 9.0 overall rating and "ER" drew a 6.4 overall rating. Meanwhile, ABC drew an 8.7 rating for the hour, as the network aired the end of the "Grey's Anatomy" season finale from 10:00 to 10:15, followed by a special called "Lost: The Answers" from 10:15 to 11:00.