The Pro Wrestling Post – 08.15.13

August 15, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This week we take a look at the success of Total Divas and the surprising announcement made by Darren Young.

Total Divas a hit

Variety reports that WWE “Total Divas” has been granted another six episodes as a result of the ratings success.  This week’s ratings grew to 1.67 million viewers which is up from the previous two weeks.

The show about WWE women wrestlers has been the bane of every pro wrestling fan due to its scripted storylines (yes, this is ironic).  Yet, the viewership reflects the fact that non-pro wrestling fans are actually entertained by the show.  With a strong social media push and E!’s anchor show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” as its lead-in, the WWE’s Total Divas was positioned for success.  However, it was unlikely that anyone believed it would do as well in its first three episodes as it has with ratings.

In the meantime, Spike TV has reset Fight Master to a new time (11:00 p.m.)  and new night (Thursday) due to poor ratings.  With its new time slot on Thursday, TNA Impact Wrestling will serve as its lead-in.

Payout Take:  Dave Meltzer recently brought up Wrestler Observer Radio (subscription required and recommended) the fact that 34% of the viewers for the show are males.  Thus, while the show has the backdrop of being about professional wrestling, the substance (yes, I use that term loosely) attracts women viewers.  As for Fight Master, at this point, it does not seem men or women are warming up to the show and hopefully using TNA as its lead-in will help bolster the ratings.

Darren Young announces he’s gay

TMZ Sports reports that WWE wrestler Darren Young is gay.  The announcement came in a “matter-of-fact” sort of way in what appeared to be an ad hoc interview by TMZ at a baggage terminal at LAX.  Young was asked about whether a homosexual athlete could survive in the WWE.  Young said yes and indicated that he was doing fine in the WWE.  The WWE’s second biggest PPV event of the year is this Sunday, Summerslam.  A host of events are occurring in Los Angeles (the site of Summerslam) this week leading up to the event.  Young is participating in the WWE’s anti-bullying rally today which, with his announcement, should add more to the context of the message at the rally.

Payout Take:  The WWE and its talent have expressed support for Young and coming out.  This could have been staged to gain some extra publicity to get some extra eyes onto Summerslam but still a bold move by Young.  While the WWE has become more corporate, professional wrestling has not always been the place for tolerance.  Just think of all the stereotypical characters that are created in pro wrestling.  Also, for those of you that follow pro wrestling, think of Chris Kanyon.  Still, Young’s announcement is another sign of the walls of fear coming down.  NBA player Jason Collins was the biggest announcement made by a sports figure.  There was publicity surrounding Liz Carmouche as she readied herself to fight Ronda Rousey.  Without much press, Carmouche’s second fight this past July was against Jessica Andrade, who is also gay.  This could be a sign of tolerance by most within the MMA community.

Young may serve as a spokesperson and role model for the gay community for coming out.  But the question will be, how will this factor into his character and career.  While we may scoff at this notion, can people look past the fact that he is gay when he’s in character.  Will the WWE now tailor something around this for a storyline?  What will be the fan reaction when he makes his first appearance since this announcement?  We will see.

The Wrestling Post – 08.10.03

August 10, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at ratings for the second week of Total Divas, ratings for this year’s Wrestlemania special and a big milestone for the WWE.

Total Divas ratings up

Believe it or not, the new WWE reality series featuring WWE women talent is up from its debut episode. The second episode which aired Sunday hit an average viewership of 1.52 million viewers with a 0.7 share.

Keeping up with the Kardashians, the “lead-in” for Total Divas was 4th overall in cable ratings for the night with an average of over 2.7 million viewers for a 1.4 rating for its time slot at 9:00pm.

Payout Take:  So much for lead-in help as Total Divas lost over 1 million viewers after the Kardashians went off the air.  Still, its ability to carry over 1.5 million viewers and do better than its debut is good news for the E! network and the WWE.  Although the content has been widely criticized, it has a following.  We’ll see how they can maintain this momentum.

Wrestlemania 29 Special on NBC

F4WOnline (subscription required) reports that last Saturday night’s Wrestlemania special on NBC garnered an average of 1.92 million viewers which is down 30% from last year’s airing.  “Wrestlemania: The World Television Premiere” was tied for second in network ratings to CBS’ 48 Hours.  The show on CBS scored 4.92 million viewers compared to Wrestlemania which tied for second with ABC’s Zero Hour.  

Payout Take:  I’ve always found the Wrestlemania specials in August very interesting considering the event takes place in April.  The decrease in ratings may be due to lack of general interest and promotion for the special.  It still did boost ratings for that time slot on NBC but that does not say too much for a Saturday night in August.

WWE reports hitting 20 million unique viewers

The WWE announced that it hit 20 million unique viewers for its programming this past week.  Variety reported the WWE accomplishment.  The 20 million was spread across five WWE programs this past week (Raw, Smackdown, WWE Main Event, Total Divas) which includes the NBC special on Wrestlemania 29.  Nielsen compiled the numbers for WWE and it was based on the number of  unique viewers as opposed to the average viewership which is usually reported.  F4WOnline (subscription required) clarified that unique viewers would be any viewer that would tune into a WWE program for at least six minutes.  

Payout Take:  While one might argue that the viewership numbers could be skewed to reflect more viewership, the fact remains that WWE television is popular and knows how to grab its demo.  The WWE chose the week it would have an extra program (which was on NBC) as the week it asked Nielsen to compile its viewership so the 20 million number may not be a representative number.  However, WWE’s anchor program, RAW on USA scored 8 million unique viewers on Monday which is more than the Wrestlemania special.

Updated ratings for Fight Master, UFC on Fox 8 and WWE Divas

July 31, 2013

We have updated ratings for last week’s Fight Master episode, this past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 8 and WWE Divas.  While Fight Master’s DVR +3 rating and UFC on Fox 8 updated ratings boosted the numbers respectively, the debut of E!’s new reality show about the WWE women did well.

Updated Fight Master DVR +3 ratings for Episode 5 raised its ratings from 441,000 to 498,000.  Even with the additional days for viewers to watch, it did not do too much to raise the rating.

According to the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), UFC on Fox 8 received a final share of 1.5 and 2.384 million viewers which was down 32% from April’s UFC on Fox 7.  This boosts the final number from a 0.9 share/2.04 million and the initial report that it was down 40% from April.

The WWE reality show about its women wrestlers which made its debut on E! television Sunday (and was rerun after RAW on Monday) had an impressive 1.3 million viewer average.  The one hour show was heavily promoted by E! and the WWE.

Via Hollywood Reporter:

 The 10 p.m. broadcast of Total Divas took in 885,000 adults 18-49 and a 1.1 rating among households, making it the most watched premiere since Married to Jonas last August. This comes on the heels of lackluster launches for other Sunday fare such as What Would Ryan Lochte Do? and The Wanted Life.

WWE Divas has been given every chance to succeed.  It had E!’s biggest show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, as its lead-in and although it lost more than half of the Kardashian viewership (Kardashians had 2.8M viewers), it is in an advantageous spot.  A rerun of the show did 700,000 viewers (500K of those in the 18-49 target demo).

Payout Perspective:

The Fight Master updated ratings may be concern since it did not pick up many people that would have recorded the show for future viewing.  In its fifth episode, one would have hoped it would have built somewhat of a base.  As we indicated before, the UFC on Fox 8 rating was due to the card and the ratings (and attendance) reflected this.  Finally, the WWE Divas show was a surprising success.  An hour for relative unknowns, it will have to rely on a heavy base of young males.


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