The Fox deal may have been very beneficial to the UFC as a whole (if you listen to Dana White, anyway), but one thing that has definitely suffered is The Ultimate Fighter. Ratings were down for the the 15th season, which tried to use live fights to entice viewers for its first season on FX after 14 on Spike TV. When that didn't work they went back to the regular pre-taped format. Has it helped? Not one iota. The third episode of TUF 16, headed by coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, drew its lowest audience ever (via TV by the numbers) - 775,000 viewers.
MMA Fighting's Dave Meltzer tweeted about the rating, making it sound like it's not as bad as it looks:
@sbnlukethomas Yes, lowest ever, did okay in adult Male demos, low for TUF but still 3rd for night behind Smackdown and one other show.— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) October 1, 2012
Even if it do okay in male demos and the 18-49 bracket (it was in the middle of the pack with a 0.5 rating), it still finished 98th out the top 100 shows on Friday night in terms of total viewers. Another troubling sign for the show is that they can't even hold a stready audience from week to week, going from 947,000 viewers in week one down to 872k in week two, and now 775k last Friday. We'll see if the show can rebound, but things aren't looking so rosy at the moment.