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Vince McMahon's return boosts WWE Raw ratings

As was expected, ratings bounced back big last night for the return of Vince McMahon to Raw, and also dropped throughout the rest of the show.

The audience was up 16 percent from last week's record low of 2.19 million viewers, ending up at 2.55 million viewers, the best figure since September 17, the day after the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

The first hour was strong, as expected, but actually below that of the November 12 and November 19 shows. The drop wasn't as bad as it could have been, and the third hour, with the women's gauntlet match, was the best hour three since October 22. It was not just the McMahon segment, but the lower level of drop than in many recent weeks that led to it beating everything in the last three months.

Still, men dropped heavier than usual from the second-to-third hour, with an 11 percent third hour drop in 18-49 and a 10 percent drop in 12-17. The female drops were ten percent in 18-49 and eight percent in 12-17, and traditionally women tune out late at a faster rate than men. The difference is likely the heavy third hour emphasis on women didn't keep them from turning off, but slowed down the drop.

The increase was both the post-PPV bump and the McMahon return. The increase was even with strong NFL competition as the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers game did 13.01 million viewers, one of the best numbers of the season.

With taped holiday shows the next two weeks, ratings would be expected to do record lows, but after tonight, really, all ratings should be thrown out as far as meaning anything until January 7.

Raw was fifth for the night on cable, beating everything except three NFL-related shows on ESPN, as well as all news shows except Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (3.02 million viewers).

The three hours were:

  • 8 p.m. 2.72 million viewers
  • 9 p.m. 2.56 million viewers
  • 10 p.m. 2.37 million viewers