Kimbo Slice and the band of 15 other fighters tapped for the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) made ratings history for Spike TV last night (Sept. 19), drawing a record-setting 5.3 rating (1.5 million) among men between the ages of 18 to 34 and 4.3 among men between the ages of 18 to 49 (2.4 million).
When all was said and done 4.1 million total viewers tuned in to TUF 10 for a 2.9 household rating. According to a press release, it was the most watched episode in the series history, as well as network history for an original, smashing the previous record of previous record of 3.4 million viewers for "The Joe Schmo Show" season finale in 2003.
Those gaudy numbers were apparently tops on television, besting "The Jay Leno Show" and the "America's Got Talent" season finale. Spike TV President Kevin Kay attributes the early success to clever casting.
Here's a snip:
"The intriguing cast of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights' has true mass appeal, and the numbers show that this sport is not just for a niche audience anymore."
TUF 10 features perhaps the most talented cast to compete on the mixed martial arts reality series, including a former IFL champion, several NFL players and a few UFC veterans. However, the inclusion of YouTube.com sensation, Kimbo Slice, is more than likely the key contributor that pushed the ratings over the edge.
Spike TV has certainly set the bar very high coming out of the gate. Can the series sustain the momentum over the next several weeks as viewers at home wait impatiently to see Slice get called out or will the luster wear off sooner rather than later?
Let's hear it, Maniacs!
To check out our detailed recap of TUF 10 episode one click here.