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CBS exec says idea of a fourth MMA broadcast was in the plans all along

CBS Senior Executive Vice President for Primetime Kelly Kahl confirmed to that this past weekend’s telecast of Saturday Night Fights pulled in an average of 4.31 million viewers.

The numbers were up significantly from July’s broadcast which averaged 2.6 million viewers and close to the network’s debut MMA telecast in May, which attracted an averaged of 4.85 million viewers.

“Going in we were going to be closer to the May numbers than the July numbers and we certainly did that,” Kahl commented when contacted by Five Ounces of Pain. “The 4.31 million viewers is exactly where we were at for May.”

Kahl indicated that CBS still does not have a final number and is waiting on additional data, but that the network is pleased with the ratings.

“There’s a couple of caveats: we don’t have ABC’s final numbers; we don’t have the last 20 minutes figured in yet; we don’t have baseball numbers,” said Kahl. “So we’re hoping to put it all into a little bit more context when we have all the numbers. Regardless of that, this was a very strong performance.”

The fact that the final 20 minutes has yet to be factored into the initial average of 4.31 million viewers is interesting because the main event of Kimbo Slice vs. Seth Petruzelli did not go on the air until after 11:00 p.m. ET. Kahl indicated that when those numbers do become available that the final number could go up.

“Based on the metered markets that we have, it looks like our market went up from 11-11:15 so that should indicate that we will creep up a little bit,” he confirmed.

Kahl was also asked to address speculation that a decision in regards to televising a fourth MMA event on CBS was contingent upon the performance of this Saturday’s show.

“I think we were planning on a fourth event in any case,” Kahl responded. “I think a lot of these comments seem to come from people not at all informed about the situation. We have a four fight deal and we were already planning ahead. These numbers just make us that much more excited about it.”

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