In the past two months, the AT&T Audience Network announced that it was not going to renew the mixed martial arts drama Kingdom for a fourth season. In fact, it released a joint statement with Endemol Shine Studios (the studio who produces the show) to Entertainment Weekly stating that; “We are looking forward to the upcoming third and final season of Kingdom, which premieres on May 31 at 8 p.m. on AT&T Audience Network”. In these past two months, there haven’t been any reports explaining why and/or how pulled the plug on the series. As a result, viewers are left to wonder: was the series canceled due to poor television ratings or because some of the cast and crew didn’t want to do the show anymore. While fans are currently disappointed about the status of the show, that feeling may not last too long as I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC or Bellator bought the rights to the show and aired it on another platform.
Kingdom is a show that gives viewers a glimpse into the life of an MMA fighter. On an episode called “Cut Day,” the show depicts the different techniques fighters use to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period. For instance, Ryan Wheeler has to lose twenty pounds before the end of the day thus he is forced to wear sauna suit and alternate between the sauna and stationary bike for multiple hours to make weight. As a result, the show can give the UFC or Bellator an avenue to teach fans the ins and outs of the sport called MMA. Due to this, the companies can sell the show to its television partners as a drama that helps viewers learn about MMA in the process. Furthermore, the show could be used as a lead into a few fight cards which may encourage viewers who just watch to stay for the card or vice versa. However, if television networks don’t want the show, the UFC has the option to feature it as a fight pass original series. Therefore, it gives the Kingdom fanbase more of an incentive to subscribe to the streaming service which could lead to a substantial increase in subscriptions as the show has 19.2 thousand twitter followers.
Another benefit to buying the rights to the TV show is that the companies can use the series to promote certain fighters on the roster. For instance, one of the cast members can bring in Douglas Lima for a sparring session as they prepare for a fight. As a result, the show can give the viewer background information about him, and Bellator could use commercial time to promote a potential fight thus viewers are more likely to tune in. As you can see, there are multiple benefits to buying the rights to the TV series for the UFC or Bellator.