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Jan. 22 numbers show WWE’s approach to SmackDown is working

The buzz around SmackDown that started late last summer, when Roman Reigns returned and WWE moved into ThunderDome, continues to get louder as we approach Royal Rumble and head down the road toward WrestleMania 37.

Proof can be found in the ratings and viewership numbers, the latest set of which dropped this morning. The blue brand continues to slowly and steadily grow its audience. The Jan. 22 episode averaged 2.28 million viewers, an increase of 6% over last week’s overnights.

Especially impressive is the minuscule drop from hour one to hour two; a difference of 4,000 people says that folks who tune in stick around throughout the show. Credit partially goes to the quality of all SmackDown’s different segments and storylines. But hopefully WWE and FOX also realize that’s also because SmackDown feels like a cohesive television program. Fridays have angles that thread through the show’s entire runtime. Smaller stories are told within larger ones, so we get something that starts and ends on SmackDown AND a reason to tune in next week, or to subscribe to the Network for the next event.

Ratings for the 8 p.m. Eastern hour were also identical to the ones for the 9 p.m. Eastern one on Jan. 22. Overall, SmackDown gave FOX a share of first place among 18 - 34 year olds and put it in a tie for second with the under 50 demographic.

Here are the fast nationals:

Showbuzz Daily

And here’s 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).

Will it continue? Next week is the Royal Rumble go home, so it should. And that could be good news who’d like to see more of WWE’s main roster programming look like SmackDown has the past few months.

For complete results and the live blog for SmackDown this week click here. To read a review of the night’s events click here. For a full playlist of the show click here.

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