As expected, Spike and the UFC hit a home run in the ratings last night with Kimbo Slice on the TUF 10 cast. More than twice the number of viewers from last year tuned in to the watch the tenth season premiere.
The casting of Internet sensation Kimbo Slice on Spike’s “Ultimate Fighter” boosted the veteran show’s ratings through the roof last night. The tenth season premiere of “Ultimate” drew 4.1 million viewers — up 130% from the last season premiere in April. Women demos were up as much as 206%. “Fighter” was the top-rated cable show last night.
You obviously watched last night. What did you think?
Update: The official Spike TV press release:
September 17, 2009, New York, NY – While the ratings for most television series erode over time, “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV continues to defy the norm. Illustrating the ever-growing popularity of the UFC and its stable of stars, the premiere of the tenth season of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” on Wednesday, September 16 (10:00pm-11:00pm ET/PT) was not only the most watched episode in the series history, but also in network history for an original.*
The series, featuring the best up-and-coming mixed martial arts heavyweights, including YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice, garnered 4.1 million viewers, besting the previous “The Ultimate Fighter” high of 2.8 million viewers for the finale of season three in 2006.
The show debut also garnered 3.2 million Persons 18-49, demonstrating a substantial amount of co-viewing between men and women.
“The intriguing cast of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights’ has true mass appeal, and the numbers show that this sport is not just for a niche audience anymore,” said Kevin Kay, Spike TV President.
The Spike TV telecast bested all competition on television in the advertiser-coveted demographics of Men 18-34, M18-49, M18-24, M25-34 including the highly-promoted network originals “The Jay Leno Show,” “America’s Got Talent” season finale, “Glee,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and the premiere of “Beautiful Life.”
Overall, the record-breaking Spike TV telecast drew a 5.3 rating (1.5 million) in Men 18-34, a 4.3 in M18-49 (2.4 million), a 2.9 household rating and 4.1 million total viewers.
“The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” features former UFC light heavyweight champions “Suga” Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as coaches and is the only installment in the show’s history to include only the heavyweight weight class (206+ lbs). The cast includes a list of notable athletes with impressive and diverse pedigrees including four former NFL players, UFC veterans, a former IFL heavyweight champ, and a highly-publicized former EliteXC fighter, Kimbo Slice, who gained prominence through his non-sanctioned bouts on YouTube.
*previous record for a Spike TV original episode is 3.4 million for “The Joe Schmo Show” season finale in 2003.
Spike TV is available in 98.6 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press.