After back-to-back seasons of the UFC’s hit reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” airing in a Friday night time slot, the show will be moved to a weeknight for the seventeenth season, set to air in January with Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen serving as coaches.
Prior to season 16 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, which is currently airing each Friday night on FX, UFC President Dana White said the show would be moved from Friday night if it failed to deliver strong ratings. With the current season of the show averaging an all-time low in viewership after five episodes, the UFC and FX have decided to make the switch.
“The show is going to move off of Friday nights,” FX executive Chuck Safter said on a media conference call Wednesday afternoon where ‘TUF 17′ was officially announced. “I can’t confirm the day right now, but it’s definitely moving off of Friday, it’s definitely moving to a weekday. There will be an announcement on that somewhere in the next 30 to 45 days.”
The expectation is that the move to a weeknight will significantly boost the show’s ratings for the reality show, which saw its first season air all the way back in 2005.
With two of the sports top-5 pay-per-view draws coaching opposite one another, the upcoming season has all the makings for one of the best in the series’ long history.
“The Ultimate Fighter” reality series saw its best ratings when it aired Spike TV, but after the UFC moved to FOX the show has struggled to find it’s footing, even after an attempt to switch to a live format for season 15. With this announcement, however, it appears that FX plans to push “The Ultimate Fighter” back in a positive direction.
A combination of popular coaches, a new day and what FX is calling the best cast of the three seasons to air on the channel, Safter has high hopes for the show’s ratings.
“Certainly with Jones and Sonnen as the coaches for this upcoming season, we have the best casting that we’ve seen for this show. And we have really high expectations for what the ratings will be as a result. We think we can move off of Friday, and with the casting, we have very big expectations for the ratings.”
“(The ratings) should be epic”