Despite Raw ratings being well up this week, SmackDown fell slightly, dropping three percent to an average of 2.032 million viewers on Tuesday night.
The audience retention from Monday was right in the range of what SmackDown usually does during football season, at just over 87 percent. With Monday’s college football title game being the last major sports competition Raw will face until the NBA playoffs get underway, it’s likely that retention will fall closer to 80 percent for the next few months.
Biting into the SmackDown audience was the return of original network programming after the holidays. Ratings juggernaut NCIS drew an audience of over 12 million airing directly opposite the first hour of the show. The networks also carried Donald Trump’s presidential address, and the address and government shutdown coverage caused a huge spike in the cable news ratings — with Hannity on Fox News topping seven million viewers opposite hour two of SmackDown.
Overall, SmackDown finished just 16th in the cable TV ratings, trailing mostly news-related programming. In the 18-49 demo, where SmackDown usually finishes first or second, it fell to fourth with a 0.72 rating.
Here’s a look at the last 10 weeks of SmackDown viewership as compared to Raw’s from the same week: