by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
As first reported by MMAWeekly, the UFC is planning to run a live fight special on Spike TV not only on June 24th as previously announced by the UFC, but also on June 28th.
The date of Saturday, June 24th (as opposed to a different night of the week) was chosen because Saturday is the night on which the UFC has typically drawn the highest ratings for its live fight specials, so it only makes sense to have TUF 3’s live season finale on a Saturday. The three-hour live broadcast is scheduled to run from 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM.
The date of Wednesday, June 28th will be the first time that the UFC runs a live fight special on a Wednesday. The date of June 28th specifically chosen because Spike TV wants to use a live UFC broadcast as a strong lead-in for the series premiere of “Blade: The Series.”
As you might guess from the title, Blade: The Series is a new TV series based on the Blade series of comic books, which were previously the inspiration for three feature films starring Wesley Snipes (the TV series will star Kirk Jones in the lead role instead of Snipes). Spike TV has put a lot of resources into Blade: The Series as the network’s first scripted original series, and wants to provide the first episode with a strong lead-in, even if that means taking the risk of over-exposing the UFC product.
Spike TV has committed to 13 one-hour episodes of Blade: The Series, the first two of which will air in a two-hour block on Wednesday, June 28th at 10:00 PM. The June 28th live fight special will be a two-hour broadcast that will air from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
You can expect lots of announcer plugs and commercials for Blade: The Series to run throughout the UFC broadcast on June 28th, and it would be reasonable to expect them to mention that Chuck Liddell has a guest-starring role on one of the episodes of Blade: The Series. It sends a very positive message about what Spike TV thinks of the UFC when they need a strong lead-in for a major new show and their first instinct is to order a UFC special to provide that strong lead-in.
What Spike TV has to gain from this is obviously to get a better rating for the series premiere of Blade than they otherwise would. What the UFC has to gain from this is, very simply, money. The UFC not only gets about half of the advertising revenue from every show that they put on Spike TV, but they also get paid a programming rights fee for every show that they air on Spike TV.
In much the same way that the UFC’s April 6th live fight special existed for the primary purpose of helping to pop a big first-week rating for The Ultimate Fighter 3 (which it did), the June 28th live special will exist for the primary purpose of helping Blade: The Series to pop a big first-week rating.