Friday Night SmackDown's move to FS 1 leads to a massive drop

Originally published at

The move from Fox to FS 1 for one-week proved an enormous hit on Friday Night SmackDown’s audience as the show fell to 888,000 viewers on the cable outlet.

Due to the World Series, it was a one-week move for SmackDown from the main network to FS 1 and isn’t a fair number to assess in the overall picture of SmackDown’s performance. That said, the drop was much bigger than many people anticipated with a 63% drop in viewership from Fox the week prior.

SmackDown advertised appearances from Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair for the FS 1 show.

A new episode of WWE Backstage that averaged 426,000 viewers immediately after SmackDown. The followup episode was down from the premiere that did 597,000 on October 15th but also had the ALCS game as a lead-in, which did 3,838,000 viewers,

Friday’s show went against the World Series with Game 4 between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals averaging 12,220,000 viewers on Fox.

There was no listing for the replay of AEW Dynamite that aired on TNT on Friday that featured an extended edition of the show. Showbuzz Daily only tracks first-run programming but it’s unknown if the extended edition of the show was classified as a replay, or not.

UPDATE: Showbuzz Daily confirmed to POST Wrestling that they viewed the show as a replay and that is why the number was not listed. We are unaware of how the replay performed on Friday night.

SmackDown did a 0.27 among people 18-49 with the best performance among their key demos shown in males 18-49 where they did a 0.41 followed by a 0.39 for 50+ viewers.

In the key demos, Raw demolished SmackDown in every category. Comparing to NXT, they beat SmackDown among females 18-49 (0.19 to 0.14), and females 12-34 (0.12 to 0.09). AEW topped SmackDown in every category except 50+ viewership.

The more important numbers to look at are the next several weeks on Fox with the conclusion of the Major League Baseball playoffs and finding out where SmackDown will settle at. It would be overreacting to assume that this past Friday’s number is indicative of a mass tune out even with the steeper drop than anticipated.

As a comparison to the final UFC broadcasts on FS 1 at the end of 2018, they averaged 702,000 viewers for a Fight Night main card on December 1st headlined by Junior dos Santos and Tai Tuivasa. UFC averaged 786,000 viewers for the UFC 231 prelims on December 8th featuring Nina Ansaroff vs. Claudia Gadelha and did 1,148,000 viewers for the UFC 232 prelims on December 29th featuring Walt Harris vs. Andrei Arlovski (which led into the pay-per-view headlined by Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson).


Wow, I mean FS1 is not in as many households as Fox or USA but that is awful.

Is it a good number for FS1 ?

It looks like yes, I don’t know for sure, but it looks like most of their stuff does like 200k or less. But it doesn’t compare with when they get too sporting events like Yankees V Red Sox set their highest rating ever at 7+ million.

Hey yo @Alex_Patel - seeing as AEW beat Smackdown does that make AEW major league or SD minor league?


FS1 though. Although it’s way down

Look you have me wrong - all I want is for them to kick WWE ass. I hate Smackdown. I hate RAW even more. I loathe morons that watch this crap as being low expectation idiots.

But it doesn’t mean AEW is killing them

This isn’t a shock. Go look at the subscriber numbers for the Network. No growth, downward trends. They can’t give the network away despite trying to do all these free month trials. They have really dwindled down their loyal fanbase to about 1 million people. Raw and SD do higher numbers based on ease of access and viewing habit but if a fan has to seek out the show, or pay 9.99 a month for it, there is a small market for that. It’s truly an amazing study on how a brand positioned itself as well as possible with so little care for its hardcore money-spending fan, only to wake up one day and realize that fan got sick of waiting for them to do right. Now there are several other promotions delivering a product Fans are interested in and WWE has no tricks left. No Austin, no Hogan, no Rock, no Fox, no big MMA crossover is going to fix this problem long term. Somehow within the wrestling community WWE has destroyed its good will and it’s only now a matter of time before the advertising community realizes these Saudi Arabia shows and controversial racist t shirts are actually the product of management being tone deaf.

This number will bounce back on Fox proper and again with limited competition but the damage is done and the Rose is off the bloom. Wwe needs Fox and NBCU way more than they need them and the gross over-pay will shock the company to its core when there is a regression in 4 years during the next round of negotiations.

This coming from somebody who couldn’t be more bullish on the company 18 months ago. My only regret is that Vince and Co don’t get hammered for all of these mind numblingly bad business decisions on investor calls. I guess revenue is at an all time high and will be for 2-3 years but the business case for this company starts and ends with managements seemingly out of touch decision making.


Well you said they shouldn’t be satisfied with besting NXT, now they just beat Smackdown so I guess they are officially major league. The war is over :laughing:


There was a Replay of Smackdown on Fox On Sunday after the NFL game and leading into the World Series (at least on my affiliate not sure if it was nationwide). I wonder how many people watched that surely more then 900k . it wouldn’t even surprise me if people left the channel on and got a huge number from the Football lead in at least to start it.

This FS1 number is actually good for WWE in the sense I knew WWE wouldn’t be pulling in big broadcast network numbers I thought it would get regulated to FS1 pretty quickly however Fox might be Leary to do that if it will drop so much!

I don’t live in the states but it seems FS1 has been having a hard time finding an audience in general Jay & Dan from TSN went down there to do the nightly sports recap show but they came back rather quickly after ratings tanked.

Maybe the ratings aren’t friendly to FS1 in general (nielsen ratings are flawed and not a real true number) that said they are flawed across the board so in a sense there is consistency I guess.

NFL on FOX and the world Series promoted Smackdown pretty good for the FS1 move but I do not believe they mentioned Hulk Hogan (I guess it risky might ruffle the casual fans feathers who are in the know of his racial remarks past. However the general sports audience hear his name might make it appointment tv to check out.