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Fox Knocks 'Champ’ to FSN

Having turned out to be more pretender than contender in the ratings, Fox’s boxing-reality series The Next Great Champ will now go to the Nielsen scorecards on FSN.

The sports network expects to retool the series’ five remaining episodes in an effort to make it more appealing to boxing fans, according to FSN executive vice president of programming and production George Greenberg. These installments of the Oscar De La Hoya-promoted series — which pitted 12 unknown boxers against each other for a chance to fight for a pro-boxing championship — will air on FSN’s owned-and-affiliated regional sports networks on consecutive Sundays, beginning Oct. 17.

The reality series failed to knockout viewers through its first four episodes, often finishing last in its Tuesday 9 p.m. time slot on its way to averaging a 3.1 (national) household rating over its first four episodes.

Greenberg said the more niche-oriented nature of boxing, and of sports in general, is more suited to FSN’s young, male-oriented demographic than the broader audience broadcast networks covet.

“It’s the logical destination for a show about boxing,” he said.

Greenberg said FSN will alter the show to emphasize the boxing action in an effort to appeal to more sports fans. It will follow each episode with a boxing-themed episode of its sports-anthology series Beyond the Glory.