TNA and Dixie Carter hosted a conference call for the media today. We hope to have an mp3 of the entire call shortly but until then, here are some of the highlights:
– She was asked about the company’s press release regarding format changes. She referenced the Hulk Hogan backstage segments from last week and said she’s more excited about doing that type of segment than anything else. “It’s really time for us to take this to another level,” Carter said. “It’s going to be an evolution… It’s something in my opinion that is going to be a very much needed way to watch wrestling.”
– Brooke Hogan will not be wrestling and is there to help get some attention on the product. Carter was surprised at how much Hogan knew about the business as she literally grew up around some of the biggest names in the industry.
– Dixie spoke about the company approaching its ten-year anniversary. She said people didn’t expect them to last ten weeks and they almost did not. She admitted there have been times when she didn’t know if it was going to last. She said they’ve “made a ton of mistakes” but said it’s been a learning process. She said she doesn’t feel the company has ever produced the quality of programming as they are now.
– Carter was asked about the company’s pay-per-view plans for 2013 and whether they would like to do live specials. Carter said Spike asked them around Thanksgiving last year to expand Impact to three hours. She said they chose quality over quantity. She said they would like to do live specials. Carter said she’s not a fan of doing 12 pay-per-views. She said they are currently trying to negotiate existing contracts and hopes there are fewer pay-per-view events next year.
– When asked if there are plans to go on the road more often. Carter said she would prefer to go live than be on the road but ultimately she would like to do both. Dixie noted that Spike TV approached them around last Thanksgiving on making Impact 3-hours long but she felt that quality should be more important than quantity. She would like more US programming, just not a 3-hour Impact.
– Carter was asked whether they will tone down elements of the product now that they are airing in an earlier time slot. She said that they are trying to make things as real as possible and some sexual innuendo and things of that nature will come out. She said they have the ability to censor any errant f-bombs or things of that nature should someone slip.
– In regard to content on the Impact broadcasts with the earlier timeslot, Carter said they take the racier elements seriously to present them in the right way. Carter said that too much blood, language and sexually offensive material means nothing. Everything has to have meaning. In their attempts to make it mean as much as possible, some of those elements will come out.
– When asked about the fears of producing live TV, Carter said there will always be a mistake and that’s the reality of live TV. Live TV gives the audience a desire to need to watch the show live in the face of DVRs. It also prevents spoilers from getting out, which means viewers read it and create their opinion based on what the person wrote and also what’s going to be in what segment.
– A caller asked whether there is any research that shows whether going live leads to better ratings. She said not necessarily, though she thinks going live will help them gain momentum faster in a new time slot. She said going live helps them become more socially interactive. She said she feels Thursday’s show will be the most socially interactive show in pro wrestling history and expects to expand going forward.
– Dixie said one of the key things they are trying to do with the new format is to let the talent cut loose. She said wrestling has always been formatted for certain minutes. She said last week fans got to see just a taste of what Hulk Hogan does behind the scenes. She said she gets very defensive when people claim that Hogan is only with the company to get a paycheck. She put over how passionately Hogan is during meetings and even when he appears and he’s not paid to be there. She said she feels honored to be in those meetings even as the president of the company and she wants other people to see that side of him. She said the four challengers featured in Hogan’s segment were not scripted and they didn’t know who was going to be cut or ultimately qualify for the TNA Championship.
– Carter was asked about new talents. She said that was one of the reasons they are pulling the curtain back for the Gut Check and they’ve found a number of talents like Crimson, Rosita and Jesse Sorensen that way. The Alex Silva decision was legitimately reversed on the fly live and it’s an exciting new element on the show and to be put into the system.
– They don’t expect any major ratings changes at first. The new timeslot being live will help them get the audience to the new timeslot quicker and establish that. They want to use the interactive element on the show as they’ve never had that ability to do before on their TV series. Carter said that tomorrow is a big night but it will only get better in the weeks to come.
– Dixie was asked to comment on Ric Flair and Alex Shelley’s status with the company. She declined the comment on where things stand with Flair. She praised Shelley and said the door is always open for his return.
– She noted that she will appear on the show to introduce Brooke Hogan on Thursday and teased another big announcement.
– When asked who had affected TNA the most, she named Sting as an anchor for the who company and Kurt Angle as being a wrestler that has made everyone better in the ring.
– She was also asked if she could, who would she “steal” from the competition. Her first answer was The Rock but continued to say that she feels they have the best roster in the world.
UPDATE: HERE IS THE AUDIO FROM THE COMPLETE CALL FOR THOSE INTERESTED.
HOPEFULLY WE WILL BE DOING MORE IN THE FUTURE.