April 19, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE: WWE is locking in its heavyweight status ahead of WrestleMania.

With Friday Night SmackDown leading the charge, the company has seen some solid audience increases during the first quarter of 2024.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s surely added fuel to the fire, as SmackDown is averaging 892,000 total viewers in the 18-49 demo on Fox during the first quarter of the year, up 15% versus last year.

Further cementing SmackDown as top dog among 18-49 audiences, the February 16 episode drew 985,000 viewers — the most-watched primetime broadcast for that demo the entire week.

As Deadline previously reported though, Johnson made his return to the ring in February, and WWE has seen an uptick in SmackDown viewership all year. In fact, SmackDown has ranked No. 1 among 18-49 audiences across all total day Friday broadcasts for 11 of the first 12 weeks of the quarter. 

Meanwhile, Monday Night Raw is up 6% this quarter-to-date compared to last year on USA Network with an average demo audience of 733,000. Raw has ranked No. 1 among the 18-49 audience on Monday cable for nine of the first 13 weeks.

In January, Pat McAfee returned to the commentator table, helping rake in 811,000 demo viewers for that episode, a 13% audience increase over the prior week.

Also on USA, NXT is up 33% in the 18-49 demo audience versus the same quarter last year. 

The 40th annual WrestleMania will be held in Philadelphia this weekend, April 6 and 7.

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