‘Tough Enough’ grapples with success

Debut of new reality show draws 3.3 million

After being out of the reality game for a while, USA Network came back in a big way Monday night with the premiere of “WWE Tough Enough.”

Wrestling has long been good to the top-rated NBCUniversal cabler, and “Tough Enough” proved grapplers remain a strong fit. Airing at 11 p.m. after “WWE Raw,” “Tough Enough” drew 3.3 million viewers, including 1.9 million in the 18-49 demo.

Beginning next week, “Tough Enough” will air in its usual 8 p.m. timeslot. USA Network has ordered 10 episodes. Shed Media is producer.

Hosted by former WWE star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “Tough Enough” follows 14 contestants looking to become the next WWE superstar. Over the weekend, Austin was a guest referee at WWE’s “WrestleMania 27” pay-per-view, hosted from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on Sunday, which played to a sell-out crowd

USA wants to broaden its programming slate with more reality and comedy skeins. In February, the net hired Heather Olander as senior VP of alternative programming.

“Tough” originated on MTV, where it ran for three seasons.

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