CBS is juicing up its Saturday night prime-time programming with mixed martial arts, Variety reports. ProElite, a company that has worked with CBS cable sister Showtime, will produce the show, with a first airing aimed for April 26. With the coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic in its crosshairs, CBS plans to run four yearly MMA specials.
"This is a sport on the rise," one CBS exec said. "It's a lot more upscale than people realize." Some worry the show will be too violent, but advocates argue that MMA are no rougher than football, Variety reports. Plus, "people who tune in know what they're getting," said the exec, who calls the deal "a perfect marriage."