by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
The final three regular season episodes of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew overall ratings in the low 1’s, concluding a season that was the least-watched in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. However, the UFC still managed to completely dominate a live boxing broadcast on Versus Network that went head-to-head with the eleventh episode of TUF 5.
Episode Ten of The Ultimate Fighter 5 featured the final two quarter-final fights of the season’s 16-man tournament. The episode premiered on Thursday, June 7th and drew an overall rating of 1.1, which was down slightly from the previous episode’s 1.2 overall rating. In the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode Ten drew a 1.4 rating, which was also down slightly from the previous week’s 1.5 rating in that demographic.
Episode Eleven of TUF 5 featured the first of two semi-final tournament bouts. The episode premiered on Thursday, June 14th and drew an overall rating of 1.3, which was up from the previous episode’s 1.1 overall rating. Episode Eleven also out-drew Episode Ten in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, 1.7 to 1.4, while still finishing well below TUF 4’s ratings averages in the same demographic.
The final regular season episode of TUF 5 featured the second of two semi-final tournament bouts. With Episode Ten serving as its lead-in, Episode Eleven premiered on Thursday, June 14th at 11:00 PM and drew an overall rating of 1.0, which is tied for the lowest-rated premiere episode in TUF history when airing on its normal night. The episode drew a rating of 1.5 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
TUF Demolishes Boxing Head-to-Head on June 14th
Overlapping with The Ultimate Fighter 5’s eleventh episode on Thursday, June 14th, the newest live installment of “Versus Fight Night” on Versus Network was thoroughly trounced by TUF in the ratings. While Spike TV is available in approximately 90 million homes and Versus is available in approximately 70 million homes, that is certainly not enough to explain the huge disparity in viewership between TUF and the live boxing broadcast.
The two-hour boxing broadcast on Versus aired from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM and featured former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman in the main event. While Episode Eleven of TUF 5 drew an overall rating of 1.3, the two-hour broadcast of Versus Fight Night drew an overall rating of 0.2.
As for the overall number of viewers, Episode Eleven of TUF 5 averaged 1,718,000 viewers, while Versus Fight Night averaged 227,000 viewers. The disparity is far greater in the younger male demographics, due to the fact that the average age of Versus Fight Night’s audience was 60 years old.
In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Eleven of TUF drew a 1.5 rating, while Versus Fight Night drew a rating of 0.1.
One might think that it can’t get any worse than 1.5 to 0.1, but it can, as evidenced by the ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. In that key demographic, Episode Eleven of TUF drew a 1.7 rating, and Versus Fight Night did not even register as a 0.1 rating in the demographic. Technically, the two-hour broadcast of Versus Fight Night averaged a rating of 0.03 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
Ratings for Individual Fights on Episodes 10, 11, and 12 of TUF 5
As for the ratings that were drawn by individual fights on the final three episodes of TUF 5, Episode Ten featured Nate Diaz’ submission victory over Corey Hill in the tournament quarter-finals. The Diaz-Hill aired early in the episode and drew a 1.1 rating. Diaz’ previous fight, which was a submission victory over Robert Emerson, had drawn a 1.3 rating. Hill’s previous fight, which was also a victory over Emerson (by judges’ decision), drew a 1.3 rating as well.
Episode Ten also featured Manny Gamburyan’s unanimous decision victory over Matt Wiman in the last of the tournament quarter-final bouts. The Gamburyan-Wiman fight aired during the second half of the episode and drew a 1.2 rating. Gamburyan’s previous fight was a submission victory over Noah Thomas, and it drew a 1.4 rating. Wiman’s previous fight was a technical submission victory over Marlon Sims, which drew a 1.2 rating.
The first semi-final tournament bout aired on Episode Eleven, as Manny Gamburyan defeated Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision. The fight itself drew a 1.3 rating, up slightly from the 1.2 rating that was drawn by Gamburyan’s quarter-final fight against Matt Wiman. Lauzon’s previous fight was a TKO victory over Cole Miller, which drew a 1.4 rating.
Episode Twelve featured the last of the tournament semi-final matches, as Nate Diaz defeated Gray Maynard by submission. The fight drew a 1.0 rating, down slightly from the 1.1 rating that was drawn by Diaz’ quarter-final bout against Corey Hill. Maynard’s previous fight was a submission victory over Brandon Melendez, which drew a 1.3 rating.
Liddell Episode of Letterman Draws Strong Ratings
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday, June 7th, and the episode drew a 3.6 overall rating.
It was the most-watched episode of the week for “The Late Show,” which drew a 3.5 overall rating on Monday of that week, a 3.0 rating on Tuesday, 3.5 on Wednesday, and 3.2 on Friday.
The June 7th episode also out-drew the next week of “The Late Show,” as the show’s highest rating from June 11-15 was 3.4. However, the June 7th episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” still topped Letterman’s rating of 3.6, as Leno drew an overall rating of 4.1 on the same night, head-to-head with the episode of Letterman that featured Chuck Liddell.
TUF’s Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head with Episode Ten of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on Thursday, June 7th from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, the cancelled drama series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” continued its march towards oblivion, as it drew an overall rating of 3.1 on NBC. The first game of the NBA Finals on ABC drew a hugely disappointing 5.6 overall rating, and it actually lost to repeat programming head-to-head, as a rerun of the crime drama series “Shark” drew a 6.3 overall rating on CBS.
Airing head-to-head with Episode Eleven of TUF 5 on Thursday, June 14th from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a new (burn-off) episode of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” drew an overall rating of 3.0 on NBC. Meanwhile, the fourth and final game of the NBA Finals on ABC drew an embarrassing 5.6 overall rating, which was the same rating that Game 1 drew one week earlier. The NBA Finals once again lost to repeat programming head-to-head, as a rerun of “Shark” on CBS drew an overall rating of 5.8.
On both June 7th and June 14th, the NBA Finals broadcast was just the fifth most-watched TV show of the evening. On both Thursdays, the NBA Finals broadcasts lost not only to repeats of “Shark,” but also to repeats of “CSI” and new episodes of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
Leading into Episode Ten of TUF 5 on Spike TV was the pro wrestling show “TNA Impact,” which drew an overall rating of 1.0 on June 7th.
Leading into Episode Eleven of TUF 5 on Spike TV was “TNA Impact,” which drew an overall rating of 1.1 on June 14th. Episode Twelve of TUF 5 then aired immediately after Episode Eleven.