Elite XC had a lot on the line last night with its third event on CBS. The original deal called for four events to air on the network television channel, but CBS retained the right to defer any of the events to its sister premium cable channel, Showtime, if so desired.
After lackluster television ratings for the second event in July, it was clear the promotion was in danger of losing event number four on CBS if numbers didn't improve in Sunrise, Fla., with the "Heat" event at the BankAtlantic Center.
The network even helped with a strong advertising push -- you couldn't watch CBS over the last two weeks without seeing some kind of commercial for the event. Apparently the push helped ... a lot.
According to TVByTheNumbers.com, Elite XC drew 4.38 million viewers last night -- an increase of nearly 1.5 million from "Unfinished Business" in July.
The rating, which is the estimated percentage of the TV households in the world tuned to a program in the average minute, was at 1.8 percent. The share, which is the based on the percentage of households using televisions at that time, was at 6 percent.
Here's the ratings/share and total number of viewers for all three CBS events for the 18-49 demographic according to the Nielsen ratings reported after each event on TVByTheNumbers.com.
May 31 "Saturday Night Fights": 1.9/6 with 4 million viewers
July 26 "Unfinished Business": 1.0/3 with 2.62 million viewers
October 4 "Heat": 1.8/6 with 4.38 million viewers
All three events were beat out by "America's Most Wanted" in the 18-49 demo. The popular FOX series has traditionally dominated that age group on Saturday nights.
The important thing here is that the numbers for the third event were much closer to the May 31 show, which was considered a big success, as opposed to the one on July 26, which was deemed a failure.
These numbers should be impressive enough for CBS to air a fourth event in 2009. However, the network may an uphill battle replicating the success now that its main attraction, Kimbo Slice, will surely be drawing less attention after his 14-second loss last night.
Time will tell.