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NBC Plans Late-Night Mixed Martial Arts Show

Mar 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC beat CBS to the punch.
Mixed martial arts is continuing to forge roots with broadcasters, with NBC partnering with world championship promotion company Strikeforce to premiere a mixed martial arts cage fight series on the network for a weekly late-night run.
“Strikeforce on NBC” will premiere April 12 at 2 a.m., following “Poker After Dark,” which features a core audience of 18- to 34-year-old males that also make up the majority of the MMA fan base.
“Mixed martial arts has exploded onto the sports scene,” said Jerry Petry, executive vice president of NBC Universal Television. “Its athletes are tremendous competitors and the sport is one of the fastest-growing in the world. As a leader in this arena, Strikeforce will be able to deliver some of the finest and most intense action ever seen on broadcast TV.”
Each episode will feature taped Strikeforce mixed martial arts fights and highlights as well as fighter profiles. The premiere episode is slated to feature Cung Le vs. Brian Warren and Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs. Tony “The Freak,” as well as a profile on Le, recognized as one of the top competitors in the sport.
Earlier in the year, CBS and ProElite announced a formal partnership that will put four annual EliteXC events on prime-time television. The first EliteXC-CBS event is expected to air in May.
MyNet previously had a broadcast deal with the IFL, but it pulled the series earlier in the year.
The best known of the leagues, the UFC, continues to pull strong numbers as an anchor on Spike.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to bring the Strikeforce mixed martial arts product to one of the longest-standing and most well-respected national television platforms,” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. “NBC has a history of popular late Saturday TV and in the ’80s NBC’s ‘Saturday Night’s Main Event’ show helped catapult the popularity of professional wrestling. Strikeforce is looking to follow in suit and establish a legacy of its own on the network.”
The series is being produced by Kevin Cusick of KC Productions in conjunction with Carr-Hughes Productions.
2:30 p.m.: Updated airtime in third paragraph

5 Comments

  1. And we wonder why violence is still such a problem
    in our society?

  2. Somehow I doubt that a controlled sport is responsible for the problem of violence in society.

  3. This is exciting news as Mixed Martial Arts(MMA) on many levels has completely eclipsed boxing and wrestling in terms of core and target demos, pay-per-view buys. Interestingly, Strikeforce and EliteXC parterned for the 2nd time ever last Friday for a packed San Jose HP Pavillion and the most exciting MMA match I’ve ever covered in Cung Le defeating legendary Frank Shamrock. The crowd reaction was on the level of Ali-Frasier, the production values 5 stars. EliteXC has an advantage being broadcast regularly on Showtime(obviously part of the Viacom family) however Strikeforce will be a weekly strip series so it’s a true win/win for all sports fans.
    Dr Mike Lano,
    Global Sports Photojournalism Since 1966

  4. This is great! I can’t wait to watch!!!!

  5. Well, something strikes me as odd since the Channel Guide mentions nothing about any MMA airing after “Poker After Dark.” It lists “Sex in the City” and “Cold Case” after “Poker After Dark.” 🙁

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