Spike TV will shift the MMA reality show starring coaches Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson and Joe Warren to Thursday nights at 11 p.m. ET following IMPACT Wrestling, which airs from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.
Bellator officials confirmed with Bleacher Report on Monday that the move was permanent after Spike TV first made an announcement on Twitter. Bleacher Report is an official MMAWeekly.com content partner.
“Fight Master will be moving to Thursdays at 11 p.m. for the remainder of the run,” Bellator officials said via email on Monday.
The move comes just a week after Fight Master suffered its worst ratings of the season, pulling in just 398,000 viewers for the Aug. 7 broadcast.
The show has been a roller coaster of ups and downs all summer since launching in June as part of the network’s effort to get back into the MMA market after losing the UFC to Fox in 2011.
The debut of Fight Master came with a paltry viewing audience of 432,000 viewers, although the night it aired the show happened to be going head to head with the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the NHL.
In subsequent weeks the ratings for Fight Master improved with week two bumping up to 545,000 viewers, and episode three at 676,000 viewers.
Episode four dropped down to 505,000 viewers, with episode six again jumping up in the ratings garnering 629,000 viewers.
This latest drop, however, is the most dramatic in the series’ brief history. Spike TV officials were unavailable for comment about the move on Monday.
The move to 11 p.m. ET on Thursdays could mean a couple of things for the struggling show. First, Spike TV is moving it directly after one of their most popular offerings with TNA Wrestling routinely pulling well over a million viewers per episode.
On the other hand, an 11 p.m. time slot is never ideal for original programming on TV when it’s not considered a “late night” show such as Conan O’Brien or the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
There has been no official word if Fight Master will get picked up for a second season or not.
Meanwhile, Bellator remains on hiatus until September when they return on Saturday night, Sept. 7, for the kickoff to season 9, before the live fights move to Friday nights on Spike TV.
Bellator has shifted programming a few times thus far since entering a partnership with Spike TV in 2012. The fight promotion started on Thursday nights, and then shifted to Wednesdays for the summer shows that have aired thus far.
Now they will move to Friday nights for the biggest part of season 9, which runs through Friday, Nov. 22.
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