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).