by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
The ninth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.2 on Thursday, May 31st. The previous week’s episode, which was promoted around the street fight between show contestants Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas, drew a slightly higher 1.3 overall rating.
Spike TV’s primetime average last week was a 1.1 overall rating, which is just 0.1 lower than TUF 5’s average-to-date.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode Nine drew a 1.5 rating, down from the previous week’s 1.7 rating. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Nine drew a 1.4 rating, down from the previous week’s 1.6 rating.
The portion of Episode Nine that featured the tournament quarter-final match between Gray Maynard and Brandon Melendez, which Maynard won by submission, drew a 1.3 overall rating. This is an increase from Maynard’s previous fight (a TKO victory over Wayne Weems) and Melendez’ previous fight (a decision win over Andy Wang), as both of those fights drew 1.1 ratings.
Overall Ratings Close to Season 4; Key Demographic Ratings Significantly Lower than Season 4
At this point, if TUF 5 continues to draw overall ratings in the range of 1.2 every week, it will likely be tied with TUF 4 as the least-watched season of TUF to date, although it’s going to be close. However, in the key demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, the gap is much wider and TUF 5 is by far the least-watched season of TUF to date in that demographic.
In terms of overall ratings, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.2 rating through its first nine episodes. At the same point in previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 1.6 overall rating, the second season was averaging a 1.4 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 advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.6 rating through nine episodes. At the same point in previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 2.1 rating, the second season was averaging a 2.5 rating, the third season was averaging a 3.0 rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 2.2 rating.
UFC Still Drawing Higher Ratings than Other MMA Promotions
Even as the least-watched season of The Ultimate Fighter, the ratings for TUF 5 are still higher than the ratings for the IFL and WEC.
While Episode Nine of TUF 5 drew an average audience of 1.6 million viewers on Spike TV, the IFL’s Battleground series is averaging 998,000 viewers per episode on MyNetworkTV, and the WEC’s live debut on Versus averaged 416,000 viewers.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head with Episode Nine of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on May 31st at 10:00 PM, a repeat of the drama series “Shark” on CBS drew a 6.5 overall rating. Over on ABC, the final few minutes of the National Spelling Bee and a repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” combined to average a 3.8 overall rating in the hour. The ratings for new episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” are typically much higher than the ratings for new episodes of “Shark,” but that is not the case when both series are in reruns for the summer. Airing on NBC in the 10:00 PM hour was a new episode of the cancelled series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and the show’s 2.9 overall rating may have reminded NBC why they decided to cancel the show in the first place.
Airing in the 9:00 PM hour on Spike TV prior to The Ultimate Fighter, the pro wrestling show “TNA Impact” drew an overall rating of 0.9.