Remember a few weeks back when the ratings for “The Ultimate Fighter” bottomed out to their lowest ever? The most recent episode also hit a new low, as Julian “Let Me Bang, Bro” Lane put on the most embarrassing, cringe-worthy shitshow that TUF has ever seen, which if you’re at all familiar with the previous 15 seasons, you know is quite an accomplishment. But perhaps that kind of “drama” is what folks want to see.
Ultimate Fighter drew 1,061,000 viewers on Friday night, up a whopping 57 percent from the Oct. 26 show. While every demographic increased significantly, the biggest gains were among women, as Women 18-34 doubled the previous week and Women 18-49 were up 90 percent. The Male 18-34 target demo did a 0.95, up 58 percent from the previous week. The show placed third in its time slot in both Males 18-34 and 18-49.
MMA Fighting rightly points out that there’s no good explanation for this unexpected spike, but there wasn’t for the trough three weeks ago either. Sure this episode was much discussed/mocked after the fact, but did the brief snippets of Lane’s freakout shown on the commercials really draw that many trainwreck-watchers? Personally, I think that much like crime stats, it’s a prime example of how looking at only one instance or timeframe instead of the overall trend is pretty much meaningless.
Unfortunately for TUF, the ratings average for this season is still only about 863,000 by my math, so the declining trend compared to previous seasons is still in effect. But really, after 16 seasons plus 2 spin-off foreign ones, this is to be expected from a reality show. Even the mighty “Survivor” is down to nearly 1/3 of the viewers it once enjoyed, so why should we think TUF should be any different? People get burned out on reality shows, that’s the way she goes, boys.