The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate opened to the lowest viewership of any season of the venerable reality series, but Wednesday night’s Episode 3 notched a new low point for the series at 639,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen TV ratings.
TUF 18 opened to 762,000 viewers and then jumped up to 870,000 in its second week, which is slightly out of the norm. Most recent seasons have seen a drop from the premier to the second episode, but this season bucked that trend.
Team Rousey vs. Team Tate marks the second shift move to a new network in the past two years for the reality series. After several years on Spike TV, TUF moved to FX when the UFC signed a broadcasting partnership with the FOX family of networks. This season, the show is on the new FOX Sports 1 (FS1) network.
FS1 took over the slot for FOX’s Speed Channel, rebranding to a 24/7 sports outlet akin to ESPN.
While the numbers don’t sound particularly impressive when compared to past seasons, both FOX executives and UFC president Dana White have said that this is to be expected in the process of building a network.
The Ultimate Fighter is still performing well in relativity, placing at the top of ad supported cable sports networks in the 10-11 p.m. ET time period in key advertising demographics. Episode three was the most watched program on FS1 on Wednesday night, and good enough to score the top spot among all ad supported cable sports networks in most total viewers, Men 18-34, Men 18-49, and Men 25-54, beating out the likes of Major League Baseball.
It’s also worth noting that the 2 a.m. ET repeat of the episode drew 91,000 viewers.