Spike TV and Bellator both have high hopes for their new reality show Fight Master: Bellator MMA, but last week's ratings were not nearly what the network and promotion likely had in mind.
Going head-to-head with the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, the debut episode of the new MMA reality program pulled in 432,000 average viewers over the one-hour broadcast.
The numbers were obviously much, much lower than what Spike TV officials anticipated, but with no major sporting events to battle with on Wednesday nights, episode two fared much better.
According to the Nielsen Ratings received by Bleacher Report on Thursday, the second episode of Fight Master averaged 545,000 viewers this week, up 26 percent over last week's offering.
In the key demographics, Fight Master posted 25 percent higher ratings among males between the ages of 18-49 and got a huge boost in the coveted 18-34 male market with ratings spiking 54 percent higher than last week.
While the numbers certainly aren't in the same league as The Ultimate Fighter when it was airing on Spike TV, the improvement is a good sign for the future.
Spike TV officials told Bleacher Report last week that while they were not happy with the results for episode one, it wasn't time to hit the panic button just yet.
Spike TV Senior Vice President of Communications David Schwarz broke it down when last week's ratings came out.
We feel that a few hundred thousand people went over to watch one of the best hockey games you'd ever seen. We are disappointed, but we feel like people will find the show and like all reality shows it might take a few nights.
Season 14 of the reality show, which was the final year The Ultimate Fighter ran on Spike TV, averaged 1.5 million viewers per episode.
The UFC reality show routinely earned well over one million viewers per episode with certain offerings jumping even higher.
This is Bellator's first try in the reality-show game, but with a top-notch coaching staff—including UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, Greg Jackson and Frank Shamrock—leading the way, its hope is to continue to build viewership as the season moves forward.
Fight Master: Bellator MMA will be going solo on Wednesday nights until July 31 when Bellator's live show returns for another card on the same night.
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