This afternoon the UFC held an official conference call to provide details regarding the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. The most significant new announcement to come out of that call is the news that FX will be moving The Ultimate Fighter to a different night of the week. The expectation is that this will significantly boost the show’s ratings.
It was announced yesterday that light heavyweight champ Jon Jones will be coaching on next season of TUF against Chael Sonnen. The popularity and notoriety of these two fighters was already expected to provide a major ratings boost for the show, which has seen its popularity diminish in recent seasons. However, even those two coaches might have had difficulty attracting viewers to a show airing on a Friday night, which is notorious for low viewership in general (no matter what the program being aired).
The night to which The Ultimate Fighter will be moved has not yet been announced; according to UFC president Dana White, that news will be released within the next month or so. The show saw significantly higher ratings when it was aired as one of the biggest flagship programs on Spike TV. With this announcement, however, it appears that FX plans to drive The Ultimate Fighter back in that direction. Chuck Safler, an executive with FX, put it succinctly when he said Spike TV “better watch their ass.”
The next season of TUF is scheduled to begin airing this January. The show will culminate in the championship bout between Jones and Sonnen on April 27 on pay-per-view.