By Ryan Busuttil
After showcasing live tournament fights for the first time in its 15th season, UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series will return to a taped format this fall.
According to a story by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, the 2nd season on FX will no longer feature live fights at the end of each episode. UFC President Dana White reported that the switch back is due to an inability to spend enough time on the featured fighters’ lives because of having to try to fit in the live fight. The show will remain on Friday nights at 10PM for the time being, though White stated that if ratings continue the downward trend they showed in the first season, it is possible the show could move to Tuesday or Wednesday nights. The show’s ratings slipped from where they were the previous season when TUF aired on Spike, where it did for its first 14 seasons. White blames the move to Friday nights for the ratings decrease.
While the ratings were not up to par for White, an FX spokesman reported that the cable network was very happy with TUF Live, which typically was the second most watched series on basic cable on Friday nights in the UFC’s key demographic of 18-34 and 18-49 year old men. FX also feels that the fall season of TUF will do better in the ratings because it will benefit from cross promotion from other FX and Fox shows, including “American Horror Story” and the NFL, which were not on the air when TUF Live began in March.
The next season of TUF will feature welterweights and should begin taping in the middle of July for a September airdate. The coaches have not yet been revealed.
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