WPT Television Ratings Jump 35%. Younger Viewers Tuning in En Masse to FSN’s Most-Watched Program.
Just over halfway through its ninth season, the World Poker Tour(r) is pleased to report a 35% increase in ratings over the previous season.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Season IX’s household rating has jumped from .52 to .70, with an average number of weekly viewers now at 669,000.
Over the last eleven weeks, the WPT has seen an even bigger jump, with average weekly viewership up over 50% from last season. The WPT is the top-rated program on FSN.*
This is not by accident: WPT CEO Steve Heller and President Adam Pliska set out to make significant changes to the WPT television product for Season IX, including injecting what they dubbed “YES” programming (younger, edgier, sexier elements) into the series. In a season that will feature WPT’s 200th episode, big changes have had a big impact in greatly energizing the viewing experience. Airing every Sunday night on FSN at 8 and 11 PM, WPT’s infusion of new talent, new segments, new theme music, new graphics and a new way of covering the action has led to a huge viewer increase and renewed attention.
“WPT is having a banner year on FSN. This season is on pace to be our most-watched ever,” said FSN VP of Programming David Sussin.
Season IX enhancements include:
New segments like 5 Questions and Ones To Watch, focusing on the young stars of the game, showcasing the next generation of poker stars.
New talent – Kimberly Lansing is the first woman to anchor a poker television show; Tony Dunst hosts the “Raw Deal” segment, where the brash, irreverent, sometimes too-candid online pro pulls no punches, making the “Raw Deal” a must-watch segment and a social media hit.
Royal Flush Girls – each show features four beautiful brand ambassadors who light up the screen.
Playdown coverage showing the industry’s biggest names and up and coming stars from day one of each event.
There’s still plenty of Season IX poker to watch on FSN, with eight more episodes that will air for the next eight Sunday nights, covering four of the best events on tour, with several $1,000,000+ prizes up for grabs, including:
WPT World Championship, the $25,000 buy-in season finale
Bay 101 Shooting Star, a bounty tournament that saw legendary WPT announcer Mike Sexton make the final table
Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, the first major tournament in Florida drew more than 430 of the world’s top players vying for more than $4 million
Hollywood Poker Open, which saw ClubWPT.com qualifier Andy Whetstone earn a seat into the tournament from his $19.95 monthly subscription to the legal online poker site and propel himself to the final table
Plus special coverage of the inaugural World Poker Tour Super High Roller, in which 29 elite players bought in for $100,000, the highest buy-in event in U.S. history that saw an epic final table full of legends playing at the highest stakes.
Of course, not all things were changed. Poker’s most famous commentators, Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten returned for a record ninth season to preside over some of the best poker in the history of the series.
The ninth season of WPT will air again from Episode 1 beginning on August 14, 2011.
(source: World Poker Tour)