It was fun while it lasted… The live format of Ultimate Fighter is officially no more according to a report by Yahoo! Sports. Dana White has confirmed that the long running reality show will go back to the taped format it ran for fourteen seasons prior. There is no real main reason given for the shift back, but a multitude were given. Anything from running over the time slot since they were live, DVR viewers missing because of such run over, and the whole nightmare it was to have live fights airing.
Ultimately, the brunt of the change comes down to the ratings. While Fox executives were happy with the way the show performed on Friday nights, which is a hard time slot, Dana White was not. He was hoping to change the day of the show, but Fox executives want to give it one more try on Friday. Dana has stated that, “But if it’s not up to the standards I’m expecting, I’m pretty sure they’ll give me what I want. But this season was a smash hit home run for them.”
This change does have some benefits to it though. The fighters will not have the extended stay in the house that they did this last time, the pre-taped format will allow the producers to highlight the fighters that have true stories or are there in the finals, and from a marketing standpoint the commercials will be able to show more since they will not be filming when the commercials air. Hopefully, going back to the original format does allow the series to gain back some of the viewers they have lost.
The next season is expected to start filming in mid July for a Sept. airing date. It will feature the welterweights as tryouts for the fall season is set to kick off in the coming weeks.