When you have a program like WWE's Monday Night Raw, which has been on television nearly every week since 1993, it's going to have its peaks and valleys, depending on the product and other outside factors.
One of those outside factors is Monday Night Football, which had been broadcast on ABC but is now on ESPN. Every year, around September or so, Raw experiences a slight downturn in its numbers while football season plays itself out until December. This has been happening for forever, yet both WWE and the many folks who cover it have often panicked at low ratings that seem to forecast a sudden downturn of business.
Sometimes that's the case but this past week's episode of Raw and its rating shows the future is looking bright. Or at least normal.
Raw, which was the go home show to the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) event this Sunday night in Brooklyn, pulled a 2.7 with an average 3.76 million viewers. That's better than last week but still low enough to cause indigestion in Stamford. Here's how the hours break down:
Hour one: 3.74 million viewers
Hour two: 3.88 million viewers
Hour three: 3.67 million viewers
More than anything, that familiar trend of losing viewers from the second hour to the third is more troubling than the fact that the show is no longer averaging over 4 million viewers every week. That should become the norm once we get to January and the build to WrestleMania 29 really begins.
As usual, Monday Night Football scored well with the New England Patriots hosting the Houston Texans. An average of 14.4 million viewers tuned into the Pats 42-14 blowout victory, a number that likely would have been higher had the game been more competitive.
Raw's key demographics are holding just fine -- ranking second across the board -- and the end of the NFL's regular season is fast approaching. Hang tight, folks, it's going to get better.