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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Is There a Future for SmackDown! on CW TV"
February 3, 2006 by Doug Lackey


Last week, while reading an edition of USA Today, it jumped out at me. The merger of WB and UPN; a co-ownership of Time-Warner and Paramount. Many questions began to rise from the print: What are the other 4 networks thinking" What will advertisers do now that these two minor-league distributors have merged" But more important, what programming from both networks will survive" Now naturally, me being a professional wrestling viewer for almost 20 years, thought "SmackDown! should have no problem making it into the programming line-up." That's what I thought... until I picked up the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly. A nice 2 page article on the CW-birth was found (2 pages is A LOT of print devoted to one topic by EW's standards, but of course it was more colorful pictures than anything else; about as literary as a Paris Hilton book.).

Within the confines of the piece, not ONE WORD was mentioned of Smackdown! I was amazed. All the talk was about shows like "Charmed," "One Tree Hill," "Everybody Loves Chris," and "Love, Inc." (That last show... has anyone ever heard of it"!) Again, WWE's Smackdown!, which has consistently placed 5th in the ratings battle on Friday nights, was not even brought up in a mock programming line-up by the geniuses of Entertainment Weekly. Now sure, the 20-year long wrestling fanatic in me was thinking "I slap those editors in a figure-4 right now and watch them squirm...." but then I thought... maybe they're right. In March, WWE reincarnates "Saturday Night Main Event" on NBC (AMEN!). And if you're like me, and I know I am, you cannot wait for that night to come. I'd take Triple H beating the holy hell out of some poor slob over watching Jimmy Fallon chuckle during another horrible sketch any Saturday of the month.

With SNME coming back, WWE may not see the need to keep a weekly program on a second-rate network. Putting both RAW and SmackDown! on cable (both on USA or not) is not necessarily a bad thing. Now before you get on your high horse and chant "WWE should keep Smackdown on broadcast TV so the regular Joe who can't afford cable should be able to watch it!" Then I pose this question to you... "Is regular Joe able to buy the pay-per-views that the WWE constantly promotes" Is regular Joe able to afford that $35 ticket to see the WWE live from his closest city's arena" And more important, has regular Joe been living under a rock since the mid-90's"! He doesn't have cable"!" The reason WWE went to UPN in the first place was not to cater to the wrestling public but to cash in on the viable advertising dollars to be had. This was also the reason WWE was not re-signed with Spike TV. It all comes down to the need for advertising dollars by the network willing to sign the WWE... and if NBC had the guts to sign McMahon's warped vision of football (XFL), then you knew they would jump all over SNME.

This will be a very intriguing year for the WWE. Talk about the upcoming talents and dramatic storylines all you want... but nothing will be more dramatic and suspenseful than the WWE and their placement in television programming. The over-under for "Saturday Night Main Event" having higher ratings than the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live" is set at 10:1. Any takers"

by Doug Lackey ..


dugchel wrote:
The article is OK, until you get to the part about the regular Joe and cable TV.

If the regular Joes doesn't have cable, how would a regular Joe get a PPV" Also, not everybody goes to WWE live events. And if you did, there isn't one every month in your town. But you have to pay a cable bill every month. And I don't know if you live with your parents and you don't pay bills, but I have rent to pay for. I cant afford 80 bucks a month (yes, I said 80, and thats for basic) for cable TV to watch the one show I want to watch on cable...RAW.

So please get off you high-horse. Not all of use can afford cable. And even if we could, we might not want to pay that much money for a few shows a week.

"The reason WWE went to UPN in the first place was not to cater to the wrestling public but to cash in on the viable advertising dollars to be had."

The reason why they went to UPN was to cater to the wrestling public AND make money. Thats what a business does. They are gonna lose mucho bucks if they don't stay on terrestrial TV. Ill bet that Vince is going to do whatever is in his power to keep SD on. Why wouldn't he"

And by the way, Jimmy Fallon left SNL a few years ago, have you been living under a rock or what"
Peter Abonza wrote:
Um, Smackdown! signed a 2 year contract and is said to play some part in the merger. It is said that it would most likely stay on the Friday slot.
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