PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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The premiere of NXT on USA last night (9/18) drew 0.86 rating and 1.179 million total viewers, nearly doubling the viewership for that time period one year ago. A new episode of “Suits” that followed did 955,000, down 10,000 viewers from the prior week (so NXT’s lead-in didn’t help). TNT’s movie opposite NXT (“The Legend of Tarzan”) drew 671,000 viewers.
This is on the higher end of industry expectations and should make USA Network happy that the replacement for Smackdown in their prime time line-up can still draw a strong viewership number.
Among 18-49 year old men, it drew a 0.56 rating. Smackdown the night before in that demo drew a 0.78 rating. Raw in that demo two nights before drew a 0.89 rating.
The next three weeks are big. Next week, without AEW competition, NXT will learn whether the 1 million viewers liked what they saw. The next week, they’ll see how loyal those viewers are with AEW Dynamite head-to-head; AEW Dynamite could bring more fans to Wednesday and lead to a similar or better viewership number for NXT, or it could pull a huge percentage away. And in three weeks, after AEW shows off their TV product, things will begin to show signs of how they’ll settle in in terms of AEW vs. NXT viewership in the first chapter of the Wednesday Night War.
UPDATE: NXT finished no. 4 in the key demo of 18-49 year olds with a 0.4 rating, just below “Basketball Wives” on VH1 and “Black Ink Crew” on VH1 which drew 0.5 ratings. The top rated show in that demo was the season premiere of “American Horror Story” on FX with 1.0 rating.