Despite advertising this week's WWE SmackDown as the season premiere coming out of last week's Draft, the television audience was down this week for the show on FOX. Heavy promotion across the FOX brand and WWE broadcasts still resulted in an overnight viewership average of 1.987 million viewers across the show's two hours, down from last week. That comes from a first hour of 1.978 million and a second hour of 1.995 million. Final viewership numbers will be in Monday, at which time we'd expect these figures to go up north of two million viewers.
That said, the numbers are surprisingly down from last week's overnight viewership figures which saw SmackDown average 2.087 million viewers across its two hours against much stronger competition (the NBA Finals). Last week's show ended up doing 2.178 million viewers when the final numbers came in. The last nine consecutive SmackDowns have come in above two million viewers.
In terms of pure viewership, SmackDown ranked number seven across network television in the overnight figures. The show was outdrawn by Shark Tank, 20/20, Greatest #AtHome Videos, Undercover Boss, Blue Bloods, and Dateline NBC.
In the target demo ratings, we also saw a decrease for SmackDown this week. The show did a 0.50 rating in the 18-49 age group demographic, ranking number two for the night across network television. Last week's SmackDown did a 0.60 in both the overnights and final ratings.
Among 18-34 year olds, SmackDown did a 0.20 demo rating, which was tied with several programs for first place on network television. This was down from last week's 0.40 final 18-34 rating (it was 0.30 in the overnights).
In addition to being billed as the season premiere, this week's SmackDown was built around a Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman main event, the last appearance of The New Day, Daniel Bryan's return to television, a Sasha Banks/Bayley segment, and Seth Rollins' debut on the brand.
What did you think of this week's edition of WWE SmackDown? Let us know in the comments section below! Additionally, you can give me a follow on Twitter @ryandroste for all things WWE and AEW.