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SmackDown drops below 2 million viewers for first time since New Year’s Day

A couple weeks back I wrote about how SmackDown’s ratings performance was proof its approach to crafting a pro wrestling show was working. But the numbers have been drifting downward ever since, so if it wasn’t clear before, let that be a reminder - I’m a wrestling blogger, not a television or advertising executive.

Feb. 12 was the third week in a row WWE and FOX’s audience has gotten smaller. The drops have gotten bigger each Friday, too. The 1.88 million average from last night is 11% less than registered in the overnights from Feb. 5.

Ratings were likewise down, but also provide some relief. The 18 -34 year old number was unchanged and earned SmackDown a share of first place with that age group on the night. Under 50, the rating dropped to a .5, and meant FOX was tied for third in that demographic.

The hourly numbers were stable, though, so most people who tuned in at 8 p.m. ET stuck around for the whole show.

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).

So what happened? Keeping in mind my credentials, my educated guess is it’s a combination of impeachment coverage (we won’t know how the news networks did until cable ratings come in next week, but I bet that accounts for some of the .2 week-to-week ratings drop among 25 - 54 year olds), more new programming on other channels (a lot of broadcast shows were in reruns for December and January), and an episode last week that sent a message the WrestleMania build probably wouldn’t start until after Elimination Chamber.

Feel free to give us your guesses below.

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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