Spike TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship have come to terms on a three-year extension of their deal that will keep the mixed martial arts company on the cable net through at least 2011.
The exclusive pact keeps Spike as the basic cable home of the UFC and will include Seasons 9-12 of reality series "The Ultimate Fighter," along with a dozen live fight cards; 39 hour-long episodes of
"UFC Unleashed" and two seasons of a new weekly live fight show.
Spike will air at least four of the 12 live "UFC Fight Nights" hosted by Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg each year. Spike
president Kevin Kay notes the popularity of UFC programming, saying that "Fighter" is the net's most-watched original program.
Details of the new weekly live series are still to come as the concept is being figured out. Says UFC president Dana White: "We're always creating new programming, and the great thing about Spike is that they are open-minded to it." In 2007, Spike's seven live UFC fights averaged 869,000 males aged 18 to 34 and the sixth season of "Fighter" pulls more than 1.5 million viewers a week in its 10 p.m. Wednesday slot.