If, like me - a big dummy, you thought SmackDown wouldn’t pull great numbers with a pre-taped show on Christmas night, you were wrong.
The product was a key ingredient. This was a loaded show that delivered great action and very little filler, coming off a really good PPV event and months of solidly entertaining Friday episodes. A strong lead-in from a high-scoring, record-setting NFL game helped, along with spoiler buzz about a title change. The pandemic closing movie theaters and generally changing people’s holiday habits certainly didn’t hurt.
Whatever the exact formula, the results were spectacular. Fueled by an 8 p.m. hour with more than 4 million watching, average viewership over the two hour broadcast was 3.34 million - the best number since the 2019 FOX premiere. They were edged out of first place in the key demos by the NBA game on ABC, but those numbers were the best SmackDown’s had in over a year, too.
Here are the fast nationals:
You can see how well that stacks up with previous Fridays in our running tracker of overnight numbers for the current season. You can also access the tab of year one numbers here (all data still via Showbuzz Daily).
It’s hard to imagine next week’s New Year’s Day numbers will top these, but SmackDown gave people lots of reasons to want to check back in with a strong Dec. 25 show, so there’s definitely reason for WWE and FOX to be feeling optimistic heading into 2021.