Early in the season, it looked like we might be in store for a big decline in ratings for TUF. Most of the season stayed flat around 1.0, and then rebounded in a big way in the final weeks. Most of the rebound is probably a result of scheduling luck that kept playoff games to Tuesdays and Thursdays rather than Wednesdays for the last few weeks, but the increase in viewership can only be viewed as a good sign:
MMAPayout.com has learned that the ninety minute season finale of the Ultimate Fighter on Spike drew a 1.24 rating (1.7 million viewers). The program drew quarter hours of 1.2, 1.22, 1.14, 1.28, 1.28, and 1.34. The key demographic numbers were a a 1.77 in M18-34 and a 1.56 in M18-49. The M18-49 number made it the most watched show in its time slot on basic cable in that demographic.
Credit of course goes to Adam Swift for the numbers. Adam also has a handy chart up showing ratings for the show by year. You can spin this season one of two ways: It is either tied for the worst, or the only season besides season 3 not to show a decline from the year before.
This is a good sign for this coming Saturday's show. I expect the show to do the worst finale rating since season 4, because there is no marquee main event like Penn v. Pulver or Huerta v. Florian. Still, if this is any indication, I could be wrong, because I think everyone who watched the show last night will want to see Saturday's finale.