A combination of network season premieres and a strong NFL game led Raw to what will undoubtedly be the lowest rated episode in its history last night.
The Raw rating is not available, but the total audience was 2.35 million viewers. The previous modern-era low audience was 2.46 million viewers set on July 9. The September 26, 2016 Raw, which went up against the Clinton-Trump debate, also did 2.46 million viewers.
While excuses can be made, and those were the reason for the low number, there are season premieres every year and NFL big games every season. Last year's Raw during the same week did 2.91 million viewers, so that's a 19 percent year-to-year drop.
The show featured what will almost surely be the two lowest rated hours, hours two and three. The big drop was hour one to two, and it's hard to figure why because the hottest network show, Big Bang Theory, went against the first hour and the NFL game started about 13 minutes into the first hour.
The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game did 12.01 million viewers. Big Bang Theory did 12.92 million viewers.
Raw was 12th for the night on cable, although it still beat everything on cable other than news and NFL-related broadcasts on ESPN.
The new Observer will go into more detail about where the audience was lost, but the big drop from hour one-to-two was viewers over the age of 50, which is Raw's usual largest audience demo. It was unusual in that the third hour was actually slightly up from the second hour by 6,000 total viewers.
The three hours were:
- 8 p.m. 2.49 million viewers
- 9 p.m. 2.28 million viewers
- 10 p.m. 2.28 million viewers