SmackDown tops network programming, highest 18-49 since 11/26

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Friday Night SmackDown topped all network programming for the night while attracting its highest overall audience since September.

The December 17th episode on Fox averaged 2,303,000 viewers and approximately 682,000 (0.52) in the 18-49 demographic, according to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics and Showbuzz Daily.

It was SmackDown’s highest overall audience since September 10th at Madison Square Garden that featured an appearance by Brock Lesnar and a match between Edge and Seth Rollins.

Friday’s show topped all network programming for the night in the 18-49 demo including a first-run episode of ABC’s Shark Tank that did 0.48. It was SmackDown’s highest 18-49 number since November 26th.

The show was strengthened by its male viewership with 18-49s up by 14 percent, males 18-34 growing by 21 percent, and men 35-49 improving by 10 percent. Female viewership in those categories were each down slightly from the week prior.

SmackDown faced sports competition from ESPN’s coverage of the Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics that finished second on cable with 1,735,000 viewers and 0.49 in 18-49. There was also a college football game on ESPN2 that finished sixth on cable with 1,267,000 and 0.24 in 18-49.

The show featured the return of Roman Reigns after missing the previous week’s episode and a show-closing confrontation with Brock Lesnar prior to their rematch on January 1st.

In Canada, SmackDown finished with 126,100 viewers on Sportsnet 360 and 31,800 in the 25-54 demographic. Those figures were down 21 percent and 58 percent respectively as the demo took a major drop. It was not a super competitive night among sports programming with SmackDown #3 in viewers behind a Canada vs. USA hockey game and the Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins. SmackDown was #5 in the demo among sports broadcasts.

WWE Main Event aired immediately after SmackDown on Sportsnet 360 and averaged 70,900 viewers and 13,900 in 25-54.