The press release:

San Jose, CA. – The fifth episode of “Strikeforce on NBC”, the first-ever weekly mixed martial arts cage fight program on one of the four major national television networks in the U.S, topped the average ratings of both ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” both of which air several hours earlier during weeknights, in the 18-34 year old male category of viewers during the week of May 5, 2008.

The .5 rating drawn by “Strikeforce on NBC” in the 18-34 year old male category beat the ratings of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on four of the five weeknights that the ABC show airs, and tied Kimmel’s ratings on the fifth night. The Strikeforce program bested the ratings of “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” on all five weeknights and tied the Thursday and Friday night ratings of CBS’s “The Late Show With David Letterman” that week, in the same demographic group.

The overall viewership of “Strikeforce on NBC,” which airs immediately following “Poker After Dark” every Saturday night (check your local listings for show time), has increased by an astronomical 197%, from 319,000 to 949,000, including a 58% jump between the two most recently reported weeks (949,000 from 602,000).

“We’re pleased to see our product gaining momentum on network TV,” said Strikeforce CEO, Scott Coker. “The series has proven to be a highly effective way of creating new Strikeforce fans throughout the country and we’re looking forward to delivering more action-packed programming to NBC viewers throughout the year.”

Co-hosted by mixed martial arts legend, Ken Shamrock, and award-winning ESPN announcer, Lon McEachern, “Strikeforce on NBC” is a 52 week series. Each episode runs 30 minutes and is comprised of fighter profiles as well as Strikeforce MMA fights and highlights.

If Strikeforce can do well in the wee hours of the morning showing old fights, EliteXC should be able to do great with a live fight card featuring Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano in primetime, right?