'The Ultimate Fighter' abandoning live format this fall

It appears that "The Ultimate Fighter Live" will drop a key word in its title when it returns in the fall.

According to a report at Yahoo! Sports, the UFC's reality series on the FX cable network will abandon the live format it experimented with this past spring in favor of a return to taped weekly shows for the next season. 

Though the show will remain in its Friday night time slot, UFC president Dana White told the site that could change in 2013 if ratings numbers don't pan out in the fall.

"(If) this next season isn't up to the standards I expect, (FX) promised me we can move it to Tuesday or Wednesday," White told Yahoo! Additionally, White said casting for the fall season will take place in the coming weeks for a season that will feature welterweight fighters.

White said, though, that expectations for the show from FX and FOX were met in their first go'round with the series, calling the season "a smash hit home run for them" despite being on television's roughest ratings night of the week.

After 14 seasons of weekly episodes in a taped format on Spike TV, "The Ultimate Fighter" moved to FX earlier this year as part of the UFC's seven-year broadcast deal with the FOX network. But the show went to a format that combined taped material from earlier in the week leading into a live fight. While White has said he likes the live format of the show, ratings weren't at the level experienced on Spike – owing in large part, White has said, to the switch from Wednesday nights to Fridays.

In late May at the TUF: Live semifinals in Las Vegas, White told media he was unsure just what direction the fall season might take.

"You guys know as well as anybody we've got a lot of work to do here," White said. "We've got a lot of things we need to figure out. But we will do the work and we will figure it out."

Part of that work now appears to be a return to taped episodes and fights in the elimination-style tournament that ultimately crowns the next "Ultimate Fighter." White expects the fall season – the second on FX and the 16th of the show overall – to begin airing in September, meaning the old standard of taping over six weeks should begin some time in mid-July in Las Vegas. In the live format this past season, fighters were in the TUF house for 12 weeks instead of the usual six.

Flattr this!