The Wednesday Night Ratings War

Much of the attention in the ratings world in the time of COVID-19 goes to the tippy top of the cable listings. The shows covering the news on cable channels take up the bulk of audience rating numbers and the key demos.

That’s probably how it should be in 2020.

These are the shows that cover important matters of the day, as somewhat competent, mostly seasoned professionals that discuss what is happening in the world, and how it affects us on a local, national, and global level.

But there are other shows that take us away from the world for a brief moment, and allow our thoughts to dance with joy. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, AEW All Elite Wrestling, Guy’s Grocery Games, House Hunters, My 600-LB Life, and NXT are all established shows with one thing in common — and that’s extended runs at the top of the Wednesday Cable Ratings. TV fans know them, and they’ve created a legacy and a relationship with the fans they’ve carried with them.

Wednesday Night’s Ratings are a topic of conversation as each show battles for viewers. The Wednesday Night Wars even has it’s own Wikipedia page, although its primary focus on the ratings war between AEW and WWE misses the wider television landscape.

Traditionally, ratings have only mattered to viewers to avoid cancellation. Provided enough viewers are there to keep a show going, it doesn’t matter what the key demo numbers are week to week. Key demos are important to advertisers, but to fans who tune in weekly to watch these shows the quality is what lends the most significance.

Enjoying what you want to watch is what matters.

Guy’s Grocery Games doesn’t get any worse if 50,000 people don’t watch next week. It will continue to contain the joy of cooking that captures our hearts with hints of nostalgia to Supermarket Sweep.

In the world of wrestling, competition isn’t between one wrestling show versus another. Real competition is the world of options at our disposal. Video games, television, reading a book, and watching toy reviews on Youtube are all competing for viewers. All of these forms are vying for our attention, and the ones that win us over, are usually the ones we enjoy participating in.

For the companies wrapped up in the Wednesday Night Wrestling Wars, the only real competition is providing the best product you can. AEW and NXT both provide a great product, and provided they sustain an audience large enough to avoid cancellation, they will continue to do so.

Being up or down in one week or the next is irrelevant. The question is, did you enjoy your time? If you did there’s only one rating that matters.

The rating in our hearts.

Maybe the real Wednesday Night Wars were the friends we made along the way.