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And So Ends the Great ‘TUF Live’ Experiment; Show Returns to Pre-Taped Format in September

(So that will be the only ‘TUF Live’ trophy ever produced? EBAY THAT SHIT, BRO!!!!)

The Ultimate Fighter‘s switch to a live-fight format for their debut on FX was a promising change-of-pace for a show that desperately needed to break out of its rut. But considering the season’s declining ratings — with several of episodes breaking new records for low viewership — the gimmick clearly didn’t drive as much interest as the UFC hoped it would.

With the 16th season of TUF already slated to premiere in September, UFC president Dana White confirmed to Yahoo! yesterday that the series will return to its original pre-taped format. Though White says he loved the live format, it hindered the show’s ability to delve into the fighters’ lives, create storylines, and preview upcoming episodes. As for the Friday night time-slot, which was generally thought to be a limiting factor for the show’s ratings, we’re stuck with it for now:

“FX wants to try it again on Friday nights,” White said. “But if it’s not up to the standards I’m expecting, I’m pretty sure they’ll give me what I want. But this season was a smash hit home run for them.”

According to FX spokesman Dominic Pagone, TUF was the second-most watched series on basic cable on Friday nights among men 18-34 and 18-49, which is the UFC’s key demographic, trailing only ESPN, which generally broadcast an NBA game in that slot. Adding women, TUF was the third-most watched network on basic cable among adults 18-34 and 18-49.

Pagone said among adults aged 18-49, FX’s ratings with “The Ultimate Fighter” improved 69 percent year over year. It went up 141 percent among men 18-49 year-over-year, Pagone added…

Chuck Saftler, the executive vice president of FX…said TUF’s ratings were on par with WWE “Smackdown” on Syfy, “which has been an institution on Friday nights.” Saftler said that “was a good thing.”

Sure, but if the show returns to Wednesday nights, it might match its old Spike TV-era ratings, and that would be a great thing for them. Casting for TUF 16 will begin in three weeks, and will feature welterweight fighters. Head coaches haven’t been named yet, though the proposed Griffin vs. Bonnar matchup has already been nixed by DW.

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FilmDrunk- June 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Oh, you mean putting "live" fights on on a Friday night where they were still tape-delayed on the West Coast (where the highest concentration of UFC fans live) at 10 pm WASN'T a genius idea? Tread not on my monocle, gents, for in my surprise it has fallen.
Nealio- June 13, 2012 at 9:02 am
I found this season to as good as most others. I'd put it about the middle of the pack. I don't know why you CP writes bag on it so much. Maybe you want to bring back TUF: Heavyweights???
Ani703- June 13, 2012 at 8:12 am
Who's the guy in the picture? Is that the winner of Bum Fights?
NinjaVanish- June 13, 2012 at 7:10 am
I didn't watch any of this season period as I was boycotting Urijah Faber's ability to recieve undeserved title shot after title shot.
GrandShamrock- June 13, 2012 at 7:04 am
The problem with TUF is not the format, the problem is that it doesn't mean nothing. It's not an issue about the present, it's an issue about the future. Look at past TUF's, where are the fighters today? Why would I watch a show when its best fighter IN the show is a mediocre fighter IN the UFC? Would anyone here watch a whole show where the winner and the best overall is.. Efrain Escudero? Why? What's the point? Who cares? If you'd tell me the winner gets a title shot or something relevant, then i'd care, now i know the winner will just be a mediocre fighter in the UFC, and being in TUF doesn't make him more special o relevant, so what's the point of watching men feet the whole show or fabricated plots or verbal fights? Is boring. People watch president elections, they don't care about EVERY minor election, i don't care about which new mediocre fighter gets in the roster. Really.
NomadRip- June 13, 2012 at 6:28 am
I like the live format better and was hopign they'd keep it. But I suspect it ups all the budgets, because they have to keep them longer (and pay all the staff longer). I was glad there were no injury switch-ups, which I suspected would be a factor on the live season. That could have easily happened, especially with the Live finale only a week later.
Karma and Elias make it into the house for 16, or I stop watching.
angry little feet- June 13, 2012 at 7:40 am
Better make sure there's Pokemon and Fillet-O-Fish or there's gonna be trouble.