As much of the talk in the aftermath of Strikeforce: Fedor Vs Rogers revolves around the viewing figures, one man who’s opinion is of great value is Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President of CBS Primetime.
Throughout this week he has been talking to the media about the event which aired on CBS. Let’s first take at what he’s had to say, both before, and after the show aired on Saturday night.
Pre Fight Press Conference Interview with Ariel Helwani:
“The bar for success on a Saturday night really isn’t all that high, so if we can improve, say our male demographics a little bit, that’ll be a success.”
“We try to do a little better than our Saturday night average. Yeah it’s a real question mark. We hope for high ratings. I think the potential here is we should really have every MMA fan in the country watching this. On the other hand the question mark is – we don’t know how many people know about Fedor, outside the MMA hardcore fans. If we can peak a little interest hopefully we can make that into a slightly bigger audience than just MMA fans.”
Post Fight Interview for Fox Fight Game:
“In the case of Fedor, we sell the myth, we sell the legend, and that was kind of the goal going into this…and we’ll see whether we’re successful or not.”
After word of the early viewing figures were released on sunday, Kahl gave his reaction to the numbers and what they mean for CBS:
“Typically, we tend to get an older audience on Saturday night,” he said. “We know MMA is probably not your cup of tea if you’re in an older demographic, so that’s hardly surprising.”
“Demographics are the reason you put this sport on. You’re not putting this on to get a huge household number, you’re putting it on to try to tap into a younger audience, and it looks like we were successful doing that.”
Speaking of the ratings for the main event, which won’t be known until Tuesday he said, “We’ll hope for the best and re-visit and see if we can’t come back around and get another one of these scheduled at some point.”
Though Kahl doesn’t give much away it’s clear from his pre and post fight interviews that CBS were not expecting astronomical viewing figures on Saturday night. At the same there is a feeling that the viewing figures we have seen so far are at best, ‘OK.’
Tomorrows figures will reveal what happened after 11pm, which is when the main event took place. As we discussed in a previous article, CBS focused the vast majority of their time in the lead up to the night promoting the main event of the evening, so the hope is that there will be a marked increase in the viewing figures for that time slot.
Just how much of an increase there is, if it all, will give us a clearer picture of just how marketable Fedor currently is in the US, and how likely Strikeforce are to have another opportunity to appear on CBS in 2010.