by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Episode Eight of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.3 on Thursday, May 24th, an increase from the previous episode’s 1.1 overall rating.
The entire week of marketing leading up to Episode Eight was focused on the unsanctioned street fight that took place at the fighters’ house between intoxicated, previously eliminated fighters Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas. The part of the show that contained the Sims-Thomas street fight drew a 1.2 rating. The part of the show that featured the MMA fight between Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller drew a slightly higher 1.4 rating, which is tied for the second-most-watched fight thus far in Season Five.
The increase in the overall rating from the previous week can be partially attributed to the commercials promising a brawl at the house, and also to the fact that the UFC had just come off its biggest week of mainstream exposure and awareness in the history of the company.
In the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, Episode Eight drew the same 1.7 rating that Episode Seven drew one week earlier. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, the rating increased from 1.4 to 1.6.
Season-to-Date Averages Through Eight Weeks
Through eight episodes, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.2 overall rating. Eight episodes into previous seasons of TUF, 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 1.3 overall rating.
In the key 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.7 rating through eight episodes. Eight episodes into previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 2.1 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 2.2 rating.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
The head-to-head network TV competition that The Ultimate Fighter faced on Thursday, May 24th was significantly weaker than the competition that TUF 5 has faced in all of its previous episodes. May 24th was the first night of the summer 2007 season, so TUF 4 only had to contend with repeats and failed NBC dramas instead of heavily promoted season finales.
Airing head-to-head with TUF from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a repeat of “Shark” on CBS drew a 7.5 overall rating, and a repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC drew a 3.9 overall rating. One week earlier, the show’s season finale had drawn a 14.0 overall rating, but “Grey’s Anatomy” always performs much worse in repeats. Also airing at 10:00 PM on May 24th, the cancelled NBC drama “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” began its summer burn-off and drew a 2.8 overall rating, which is embarrassing for NBC even by the summer’s lower ratings standards.
The Ultimate Fighter 5’s lead-in on May 24th was a new episode of the pro wrestling show “TNA Impact,” which drew a 1.0 overall rating for the fifth consecutive week. Leading out of TUF at 11:00 PM was a replay of the UFC 71 Countdown special, which drew an overall rating of 0.9.
On Monday, May 21st, the premiere of the UFC 71 Countdown special drew an overall rating of 0.7, and the premiere of UFC All Access: Quinton Jackson drew an overall rating of 0.5.