Hit-and-run angle leads to SmackDown improving its viewership

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/05/30/hit-and-run-angle-leads-to-smackdown-improving-its-viewership/

Friday Night SmackDown saw a jump in its audience in the overnight figures with this week’s episode on pace to be their most-watched show since mid-April.

The show did not escape controversy as there was a heavy sentiment of bad taste among viewers for the angle to start the show. With Elias unconscious on the street next to a car, they depicted Jeff Hardy as being inebriated and insinuating he had been drinking and driving when he struck Elias. Later in the show, it was revealed Hardy was framed and a WWE.com article stated that after he was arrested, they deemed he was not intoxicated as portrayed.

The issue among some was Hardy’s real-life issues and struggles and whether that’s suitable for a pro wrestling angle.

In terms of viewership, it gave SmackDown a spike this week with the overnight figure of 2,150,000 viewers, which would be their highest number since the April 17th episode. The final number reflecting the entire country will be out Monday.

The overnight figure is up 5% from last week’s final number of 2,044,000 viewers.

It was broken down to 2,143,000 in the first hour and 2,157,000 from 9-10 pm Eastern and a rare example of the second higher being higher. I would attribute that anomaly to the nature of the Hardy angle and people interested in the resolution.

In the 18-49 demo, SmackDown did a 0.5 from 8-9 pm and 0.6 from 9-10. Most network programming is in reruns so competition is less but Shark Tank did a 0.6 in the demo and 20/20 on ABC did a 0.6 and 0.5 respectively from 9-11 pm.

Holy, S…H…I…T!

I am speechless.

What were you saying?

What I said.

My surprise was that it actually drew ratings. I know I shouldn’t be suprised, but I didn’t know that this kind of shit show actually works! (At least in this case)

Yes, I did live in hope to not lose their traditional fan base and just give us what they’re supposedly designed to do, and that is to deliver good wrestling.

I was surprised that they actually fished a big ass salmon in a small garbage stream.

What I do hope now is that if this crash TV stuff doesn’t anymore, that they’ll follow suit and impreove the wrestling/booking properties of their product.

Just because I am surprised doesn’t mean I like it. Get that right.

How long have you’ve been watching the WWE product?

All my life, since 1990s.

I am 38 right now.

See, it’s not that I don’t like WWE, it’s just that I don’t like the crap that they put in the product.

The production values, the wrestlers, the music, just not the bad booking they have in the last twenty-or-so years.

I’m pragmatic, but that doesn’t mean you should follow my way and watching patterns and stick with this product. I am loyal to it, but if you don’t want to watch it, I won’t, at will, force you to.

I’m also trying to watch more and more NJPW and maybe even AJPW, NOAH, or Dragon Gate. I’ve started watching small matches of those guys before they had subscription services.

Not ethical, I know, but what can you do, if you don’t yet have access to English-language coverage to their shows.

Well, if you watch for so long (as long as I do too), you’ll have to know what exactly to expect from this product. Changes with them take a LOOOOOOOOONG time and maybe we are now at a point where a change has begun, but it’s the WWE still.

I guess you’re right.

I kind of wish that the COVID-19 pandemic does not exist, because I know I can use a breath of fresh air in this wonderful weather here in Ontario.

The beautiful breeze has just surfaced after three days of smoggy weather.

I know my fucking English language can use some cleaning up after being inside my apartment for so long. I can’t go to jogging because nobody I see coming by me wears masks so I risk infection. Nobody coming by me exercises social distancing; they just walk like they own the place and I had to avoid them. It’s better in the night when there are fewer of these guys too.

Why does the sun keep shining indeed.

OK partci, you’re right. I’ll just leave well enough alone.

EDIT: I needed to iron out some errors made when typing. I left out some words. Apologies.

1 Like

After reading some of the feedback I was expecting something at the level of Orton/Eddie/Rey, but after watching it I didn’t think it was really offensive.

I totally understand if someone is not entertained by this type of storytelling as I can’t say it was particularly good, these are wrestlers not actors. I thought Renae did a great job, Braun was cringe, it didnt make sense (ie. cops telling Renae to stay back because this was a police matter while referees and agents run ahead of them), and Jeff I guess did his part ok, but overall it just didn’t feel believable.

If this was a Hawk/Scott Hall like storyline were Jeff was portrayed as drunk that would be one thing, but that’s not what they did here.

I’m very curious to hear what John and Wai thought of it. I’m guessing John hated it and Wai was apathetic. Ill be listening shortly.

It didn’t “draw ratings”. It’s just that more people happened to watch smackdown than the week before which was a holiday weekend in the US so it’s not a surprise that ratings were down and would pick up slightly this week.

The angle worked at drawing interest if the ratings are up again next week. Which it might have. The YouTube video has 1.4M views which is the most from clip of SmackDown. The video with the second highest number of views is Mandy in a bikini at 1M views. So that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about WWE’s fans and why they program what they do.