MMAWeekly has an interview with some relevant CBS executive who seemed relatively unconcerned about the ratings issue all of us have been transfixed on:
Because Saturday nights don’t command the ratings of weekdays, Kahl is taking a gamble on EliteXC’s ability to capture the coveted 18-34 demographic. He says one indicator of the program’s success, ad sales, have been strong so far. But the most important sign of life, ratings, are a gray area. What would be a record-breaking audience for mixed martial arts could still ensure a one-way trip to cancellation on network time.
“It’s going to be a wait and see thing,” Kahl said. “This is the first time anybody’s done this, so we don’t really have a benchmark on network TV.”
My translation: they don’t want to give a ‘successful’ benchmark rating in case it comes at the expense of Gina Carano suffering a Sean Salmon KO/seizure or a David Heath bleeder incident. Barring an incident like that, insiders have quietly said that anything in the ballpark of 3 million peeps would be considered a success.