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‘Friday Night Smackdown’ Audience Up 16% In Demo As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Makes His Return To The Ring

The Rock has been heating things up for WWE.

Since Dwayne Johnson returned to the ring in January, Friday Night SmackDown has seen some significant audience growth. The average demo audience for the first quarter of 2024 has been around 900,000 viewers.

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That’s up about 16% versus last year’s first quarter demo audience, which averaged 778,000 viewers.

Johnson isn’t solely responsible for the uptick, either. He made his return in February, but ratings have been looking good for Smackdown since the beginning of the year.

To-date, Smackdown has been highly favored among the 18-49 demographic this year. In fact, for nine out of the first 10 weeks of the year, the show has ranked as the No. 1 program across broadcast and cable during its Friday primetime slot. On January 19, Smackdown came in second place to the Denver-Boston NBA game on ESPN.

Compare that to 2023, when Smackdown only ranked No. 1 in the demo for four out of the first 10 weeks of the year.

Any time Johnson returns to WWE, he brings big numbers with him regardless of whether he gets in the ring. In September, he made an appearance on Smackdown that raked in 2.6M viewers — a 23% uptick from the previous week.

Johnson made his return to the WWE ring for the first time in a decade at the beginning of February, when he went to face-to-face with Roman Reigns. He had not been in a WWE clash since 2013, when he fought John Cena, before both of them went on to become movie stars.

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