The Fox SmackDown Live was a massive success from a viewership standpoint, with an average of 3.920 million viewers for the first hour and 3.818 million for the second.
However, the ratings took a huge hit during last week's episode. Per Showbuzz Daily, last week's episode only brought in an average of 2.925 million viewers for hour one, and 2.872 million in the second.
With Fox and WWE inking a five-year broadcasting contract worth $1 billion, one would think that the major drop in TV ratings is already a concern for executives. But that doesn't appear to be the case, at least right now.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Ringside News), Fox "will be fine with" those numbers "for a long, long time" or something like that. Meltzer also suggests they won't panic unless the viewership numbers get "way lower."
It's interesting to hear that Fox executives are apparently not worried about these ratings. WWE removed Eric Bischoff from his role as the Executive Director of SmackDown Live, and he was replaced with Bruce Prichard.
Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated detailed numerous reasons for Bischoff's firing. As it turns out, Vince McMahon was trying to send a strong message in removing Bischoff by showing he's "entirely committed to the future success" of the show.
Fox made a gutsy decision to move the SmackDown Live broadcasts to Friday nights, which is one of the most undesirable time slots for television programs. That could be a key reason for last week's drop in ratings, and the network has a major challenge in gaining consistency with its viewership.
WWE Needs To Enhance Its SmackDown Product
At the end of the day, only a strong television product will help WWE land consistently strong ratings. Wrestling fans who've grown disgruntled with WWE can now turn to AEW, and the pressure is on Vince and his officials to put on a better show. WWE needs to start giving the fans what they want, otherwise the ratings will continue to be a problem.