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EliteXC/CBS ‘Unfinished Business’ Draws 2.62 Million Viewers, 40% Drop From Network Debut (Update)

CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights

The ratings for last night’s second installment of CBS/EliteXC Saturday Night Fights are in, and they aren’t very good. From the numbers, much to many fans’s chagrin, it appears Kimbo Slice is the big draw, not EliteXC.

And there really still isn’t much to say except for this: EliteXC Saturday Night Fights without any buzz surrounding Kimbo Slice performed much worse without Kimbo than it did with him. CBS initial foray into MMA didn’t draw a slew of viewers but at least performed well in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.

That airing back on May 31, 2008 scored 4.3 million viewers and a 1.9/6 among 18-49 year olds and since the Kimbo Slice bout for that airing aired past primetime (11p) the most viewed portion wasn’t included. But lacking any Kimbo anticipation, last night’s fights pulled a mere 2.62 million and a 1.0/3 from 9pm-11pm.

To clarify, the way I understand it at least, the 2.62 million viewers is the overall number, while the 1.0/3 share is the 18-49 demo. Dave Meltzer also has a report on the ratings.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting the show got a 1.9 rating on the overnight. When all markets finish reporting in the numbers should bump up a tenth or two for either a 2.0 or a 2.1. This would fall into the low 2 range that felt would be a decent number for the show, per our show preview.

While the numbers at first glance may look like the end of the road for EliteXC on CBS, it’s not. Meltzer indicated CBS’s ratings expectations were in the low 2’s, where the final number will likely land. The true test will come in October. Kimbo and Gina Carano are obviously the drawing stars, so if the ratings don’t bounce back for that show, EliteXC will likely be in trouble.

It’s been pointed out in several places across the net already, but the absence of Gary Shaw to stir the pot and get the media talking really hurt Saturday night’s show. There was hardly any buzz for the event, and was overshadowed by the huge UFC/Affliction/DREAM events from the weekend prior. EliteXC was sorely lacking a front man to yell, “Hey, look at us over here!” Promoters can be downright ridiculous at times, but in the fight game, they are a necessary evil.

In short, the first event had a lousy production, but got the viewers. The second one had a solid production, but not as many saw it. The third show needs to put them both together. If not, it could be game over for EliteXC.

[UPDATE 7/29/08 10:01PM ET]Dave Meltzer is reporting the final ratings number for EliteXC “Unfinished Business” is a 1.7. It doesn’t typically go down from the overnights by the way. Not good.

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