The third-season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter delivered the goods for Spike TV, which registered a number of network-viewership marks.
The reality show -- in which 16 of the best up-and-coming mixed martial artists from around the world compete for a contract in the Ultimate Fighting Championship group -- recorded a 1.95 household rating and 2.4 million viewers from 10 p.m.-11:30 p.m. April 6, the best ever original-series opener for the male-targeted service, according to network officials.
The show also ranked first in its time slot against males 18-34 with 971,000 of those viewers on average, outdelivering every other show on basic or pay cable and broadcast that evening and becoming Spike’s top original show ever against that demographic.
In the process, network officials said, The Ultimate Fighter left a couple of other high-profile sporting events in its wake. The program bested the NBA on TNT, featuring the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets National Basketball Association games in the time slot in these metrics: household rating, 1.95-1.68; average audience, 2.4 million-1.8 million; and men 18-34, 3.6-1.4 rating.
The show also sank USA Network’s encore coverage of The Masters grand-slam golf tournament in average audience, 2.4 million-2.2 million; men 18-34, 3.6-0.7; and men 18-49, 2.7-1.0, according to Spike officials.