The Ultimate Fighter Live format will go away with the second season of the reality show on FX as they return to the taped format that was featured for the first 14 seasons of the program.
When the UFC signed their 7-year deal with Fox Networks, part of the move was bringing the Ultimate Fighter reality show over from Spike TV to FX. The new format for the show was that it would run for 13 weeks consecutively with the ‘elimination fight’ happening live on TV each week.
The first season of the show aired live on Friday nights at 10pm, but ratings for the show dipped considerably from previous seasons, mostly due to the Friday timeslot, which is a notoriously bad night for original programming on TV.
Add to that the element of live fights going over television time, which causes many viewers to miss the show when using recording devices like TIVO or home DVR’s (digital video recorders) and the live format just didn’t seem to mesh well with the reality show.
While FX executives were happy with the overall ratings of the show, the live format ultimately just didn’t pan out the way UFC officials had hoped so now they will return to the taped format of previous seasons.
Season 16 of the reality show will begin casting in about three weeks with the welterweight division being the focus. The next season of the Ultimate Fighter will then debut in September back on Friday nights at 10pm.
UFC President Dana White told Yahoo! that he hopes the show will pick up steam on Friday nights as they go back to the taped format, but if not they are confident FX will shift them to a different night.
“FX wants to try it again on Friday nights,” White said. “But if it’s not up to the standards I’m expecting, I’m pretty sure they’ll give me what I want. But this season was a smash hit home run for them.
“(If) this next season isn’t up to the standards I expect, they promised me we can move it to Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Currently much of FX’s regularly scheduled programming airs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but obviously for only part of the year. For instance, FX’s biggest show in terms of ratings, the outlaw biker drama Sons of Anarchy, airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm, but runs for 13 weeks and then goes on hiatus.
At least for now the Ultimate Fighter will continue to occupy the same Friday night timeslot with the renewed taped format for season 16.