The TV ratings haven’t been nearly as high as what The Ultimate Fighter earned on its old home of Spike TV. TUF: Live is averaging roughly two-thirds the audience that it drew on Spike, despite moving to a near-live format with an actual live fight at the end of the show each Friday night.
TUF: Live is currently averaging a little over one million viewers per episode. The show’s first international flavor, The Ultimate Fighter Brasil, is pulling in around 12 million viewers per episode, according to UFC president Dana White.
The numbers don’t sound all that appealing put in such a perspective, and they’re not to White, but Fox executives are quite pleased with the ratings. At least according to White.
“I love the format; the format’s awesome,” White said in a report in the Orange County Register. “As far as the show goes, it’s a (expletive) home run for FX. It’s on Friday nights. Friday nights they do movies and reruns. We’re the No. 1 thing in males 18-34 every Friday night. If not, we’re No. 2 if they pull something off that beats us. They’re happy as a pig in (expletive).
“For me, I want to pull 3 million viewers on FX. We’re No. 1 on Friday nights every week, which they’ve never had. The (UFC 145) prelims on Saturday on FX were No. 1. It’s a home run for them, but it’s not necessarily a home run for me.”
It’s understandable that FX would be pleased with the results, as winning key advertiser demographics is more important than winning with absolute numbers and then landing farther down the charts with the people that advertisers are targeting.
But the UFC has shown that it’s more than open to reworking its product now that it has partnered with Fox. Numerous production elements of its live events have been changed, and The Ultimate Fighter, obviously, underwent some big changes moving to the jive-live format. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fox and the UFC reassess following its premier season together and implement additional changes before its next season, later this year.