WWE News: Smackdown on Fox Overnight Viewership Numbers Drop Again

The third episode of WWE Smackdown on Fox led to another drop in TV viewership. The overnight ratings posted by Showbuzz Daily showed that Smackdown did 2.442 million viewers as the average for their two hours.

The first hour did 2.39 viewers and 2.493 viewers in the second hour, so at least the second hour going up is a positive sign. Another positive sign is Smackdown did a 0.75 rating number in the 18-49 age demographic, which is better than any other network TV show.

Last week’s Smackdown did 2.877 million viewers, so it was a drop of about 16% from last week.

The Smackdown on Fox number meant they were behind CBS (with a high of 7.331 million viewers for the show Blue Bloods), NBC (led by The Blacklist with 3.509 million viewers) and ABC (led by American Housewife with 3.323 million viewers). Will Fox be happy about finishing last about the four major networks last night? Probably not, but there was also some competition from Fox’s cable network.

One of the main reasons why Smackdown numbers could be down is because there was Game 5 of the ALCS MLB Playoffs with the New York Yankees beating the Houston Astros. The previous games in their series did around 6 to 7 million viewers per game, so that’s a significant audience.

Two weeks ago, when Smackdown debuted on Fox, they did a huge number with 3.888 million viewers. The big thing about that show is that it was the 20th Anniversary of Smackdown with The Rock in the opening segment, so he was a key reason why they popped a big number. The next day, Fox sent out a press release about how happy they were with the number. I don’t expect that this week.

Next week will likely see another drop for Smackdown because they will be on Fox Sports 1 in the US due to Fox showing the MLB World Series next Friday. By going to cable instead of Fox, they are going to lose more viewers while the World Series game could top 10 million viewers depending on who is in it and how the series is going.

WWE has advertised WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez “face to face” next week on Smackdown along with appearances from Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

With all of this said, keep in mind this is just overnight viewership numbers and it doesn’t take into account the people that recorded it on DVR who may watch it later in the weekend.

TJR Thoughts: I don’t like posting the ratings of every show, but with Smackdown on Fox being a new thing, it’s important to look at the numbers. I don’t see how Vince McMahon can look at this and be happy about it. That doesn’t mean any significant changes are coming right away, but I think WWE needs to consider changing the format of the show a bit and try to do some big angles as well.

The reality is that Fox paid WWE over $200 million per year for the next five years to broadcast Smackdown and other WWE content. While Fox executives may not be thrilled with this number of viewers on a Friday night, I doubt they are going to panic or take WWE off network TV. If things keep going down, then that’s a different story, but it’s still early in the WWE/Fox partnership.