Smackdown Rating: Final show of the year, comparing Raw vs. Smackdown 2017 vs. 2016 rating trends (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, editor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network this Tuesday (12/26) drew a 1.76 rating, better than the 1.69 rating Raw drew, a rare “victory” for Smackdown over Raw. Raw had the disadvantage of airing on Christmas night and had a lower than usual rating. Smackdown’s rating was typical, in line with the 1.75 ten week rolling average headed into this week and spot on with the 1.76 average for 2017.

Keller’s Analysis: Smackdown’s total average rating, being live on Tuesday nights on USA Network with exclusive use of roughly 40 percent of the talent roster, ended with a 1.76 average compared to the 1.73 average in 2016 when much of the year Smackdown wasn’t live on Tuesdays and didn’t have exclusive use of any top stars during the year. It’s difficult to pass judgment on whether the roster split has been overall good or bad because there are too many variables and too many reasons for the change. For instance, being table to run more back-to-back nights of TV tapings in the same city, for instance, is a benefit because WWE can sell fans tickets to two shows on back-to-back nights to see all WWE talent over two nights, saving on production costs of setting up TV tapings in two different cities on back-to-back nights. How much of Smackdown’s gain in the ratings is because it’s the only way fans could see John Cena for the first half of the year or A.J. Styles all year, compared to it just being live and on Tuesdays rather than pre-taped? That said, Smackdown drew and Raw dropped, and that was unlikely to have happened if Smackdown was pre-taped and if it featured the same wrestlers who were on Raw getting overexposed and it just featured rehashed follow-up on the big angles and promos that were saved for Raw.

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