Mr. Coogans Monday Groove Tube Update 04.12.04

OPENING CREDITS: The OSBOURNE quotes of the week!

When “The Osbournes” debuted several seasons ago on MTV’s Tuesday night “10 spot”, it was “Must See TV” for me. Everything Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly, and Jack did made me laugh uncontrollably (Ozzy especially ). It was fun to peak in on the lives of a heavy metal legend and his family and see what kind of trouble the group caused. Unfortunately, the novelty seemed to wear off by Season two and the beginning of Season three. Sharon and the kids became more and more annoying and unlikable for various reasons and Ozzy seemed to grow sad and even a bit bitter and wasn’t as much fun to watch anymore, even though he still had his moments.

Well, after a rare six week hiatus of the third season due to Ozzy’s tragic ATV accident that left him with many broken bones and neck and back problems, the show returned in FINE FORM this past week. Not only did the MTV hit return with some intriguing storylines (Ozzy recuperating from his accident and Sharon getting more and more disenchanted with her talk show) but some of the one-liners that, while normal and casual to them, made me laugh out loud like I did during Season One.

Welcome back old friend It’s good to have you here again

Eclairs?

We all have our vices I guess Ozzy has developed his own lately

My new addiction

Eclairs. They’re unbelievable! They’re great!

Get me 6!

If I even looked at an éclair, I’d gain five pounds

* * * * *

Either sad or funny depending on your perspective

Would you say the same thing about your dad if you were talking to the woman cutting your hair?

Hairdresser: How is your dad doing?

Jack: How’s he doing? He’s doing alright actually. He’s complaining about not having enough painkillers like always

I think I’d rather have him complaining about not having enough éclairs

* * * * *

You mean Sharon isn’t very well liked?

Sharon wondered aloud to her son Jack and his friends why the publicists of the celebrities don’t like her and don’t want to go on her show as guests. I think this exchange might explain why

Sharon: They think I’m going to ask something I shouldn’t

Jack: Well, you did ask Mandy (Moore) if (she) ever had sex .

Sharon: Excuse me I asked if she ever had sex with her BOYFRIEND (tennis player, Andy Roddick). Now don’t people want to know that?

Jack: You can’t ask a girl like that if she had sex. You can ask a girl like Kelly (Jack’s sister, Sharon’s daughter). But you don’t ask (expletive) Mandy Moore!

At least we know that Sharon is hunting down the news that MATTERS!

* * * * *

TV HEADLINES: Reality TV, “Wonderfalls,” “The Bachelor,” and Quentin Tarantino?

If you think you’re watching more reality TV than scripted TV, apparently, you’re wrong.

According to a story published in the New York Post, the number of primetime hours devoted to comedy and drama series on the six major broadcast networks has actually increased during the past five seasons, from 54% of all primetime hours in 1999-2000 to 57%.

The numbers come from a detailed five-year analysis of primetime scheduling and rating trends issued last week by Steve Sternberg, a network TV analyst from advertising giant Magna Global.

According to Sternberg’s analysis, ratings over the past five years also seem to indicate that most young viewers watch pretty much as many comedies and dramas as they always have.

This obviously differs from comments that many other critics have made in the last several months with hit shows like “The Apprentice,” “American Idol,” and now, “The Swan” hitting the air and consistently reeling in more than 15 million viewers.

I’ve even done my own mini-analysis of that particular trend pointing out Nielsen ratings now and several years ago and the fact that several networks have revamped their prime-time schedules in favor of reality television (Fox Monday nights and NBC Thursday nights the most glaring examples of reality take over). Apparently, we’re all wrong though.

In thinking about it, I suppose two other trends should be explained that may support the data the analyst gathered. First, while it may appear reality television is dominating the airwaves (and there probably is some truth to that), it could also be said that only the most POPULAR programs are reality shows. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule (“Forever Eden” and “High School Reunion” for starters). However, when “The Apprentice,” “American Idol,” and the various reality shows ABC puts on (“The Bachelor,” “Extreme Makeover”) consistently attract more than 10-12 million viewers and invade the popular culture lexicon the way they have, it’s easy to assume that reality television has “taken over the airwaves.”

Second, while the sheer volume of reality shows aren’t as high as we think, the volume of the comedies and dramas are much higher and even though they don’t all attract large audiences, there are so many of them that the audience is more spread out. If the comedies and teen friendly dramas that air on the WB, UPN, and ABC are included in the mix, there are a lot of scripted shows, but they never secure big ratings. So, while 50 million people per week watch “The Apprentice” and “American Idol” clogging up the top of the ratings picture every week, shows like “My Wife and Kids” and “My Life with Bonnie” continue to chug along securing decent ratings, but never in the Top 15. That’s just one of many possible examples.

So, maybe Sternberg has a point in his report. However, with all of these reality shows dominating the ratings and the constant debate about the “death of the sit-com,” it sure as hell doesn’t feel like he has a point.

I never thought one of my reviews would render itself worthless in two weeks time

If you remember my special Thursday Groove Tube update of several weeks ago, you’ll recall that I reviewed two new Fox shows to hit the airwaves in the last month, “Playing it Straight” and “Wonderfalls.” I had some great compliments to say about the latter and I hurled some insults at the former.

Well, it doesn’t matter now because both have already been pulled from the network’s schedule

“Playing it Straight,” the reality show where one beautiful, naïve woman picks a straight man of her dreams or risk losing a large cash prize if she picks a gay man, was quietly pulled after three episodes with the network merely commenting that it may revisit the show again during the summer. However, the cancellation of the quirky, well-written “Wonderfalls” this week has caused an uproar both with fans and critics. First, look at the fan reaction. If you haven’t seen the online petition to save the show yet (and are interested in signing it), go ahead and click on the link above. You’ll be impressed. Remarkably, as of now, close to 13,000 people have signed the petition in an attempt to save the show (and the number is quickly rising). Unfortunately, while that number is very impressive, the problem with the website where the petition is run through is that one person can sign the petition multiple times. Therefore, while I’m sure most people are being honest and only signing once; there is a pretty good chance the numbers are tainted in some way. Nonetheless, while the petition could be a bit shady, the bottom line is 13 ,000 “signatures” is an impressive number.

In addition, television critics have found the show’s cancellation to be frustrating and annoying. When reporting the news in his daily news report for TVGuide.com, Michael Ausiello said: “IS IT ANY WONDER?: Another really good TV show has bitten the dust: Fox has canceled Wonderfalls after just four episodes.” Also, Tim Goodman of The San Francisco Chronicle spoke at length in a recent column about what killed the show (the same things that others, including me, have talked about: bad night, no successful lead-in, bad schedule shifting, and no real faith from the network at all). Then at the end, he casually pledges his allegiance to the show by saying: ” if 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the series, has a charitable bone in its corporate body, you might see all 13 episodes packaged as a DVD.”

However, is it really over yet?

Zap2it‘s Kate O’Hare caught up with one of the “Wonderfalls'” creators, Bryan Fuller, recently and he stated that he’s going to continue to pitch the show until “(Fuller has) been told ‘no’ by all the networks.” He also stated:

I think the show would make a great companion piece with ‘Smallville’ on The WB and it would also make a great companion piece with ‘America’s Next Top Model’ on UPN.

Considering the putrid ratings of “Wonderfalls,” (an average of 3.8 million viewers per week, or about 1/7 of the number of viewers “American Idol” secures for every broadcast), it isn’t overly surprising that the network wanted nothing to do with it, but those numbers would be great on the two smaller scale broadcast networks or even on any of the cable networks. Seeing as several other shows have made successful network changes (“Buffy,” “JAG,” and “Grounded for Life” for example), Fuller believes the same can happen with his cute, little, critically acclaimed show.

Since 13 episodes have already been taped, the show could merely pick up where it left off in attempting to show the audience more about the characters and the lives they lead in individual episodes, rather than any sort of continuous “arc” of storylines, which, according to Fuller, was the direction they were going in. I know I’m up for it and I am sure a gaggle of TV critics and 13,000 angry petition-signing fans (give or take) would probably agree with me too.

“The Bachelor” Update

I think ABC is starting to see that “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” reality franchise they established several seasons ago was beginning to grow stale and uninteresting. How do I know? It was pretty obvious show producers attempted to “spice things up” by making two major changes to the way the network’s version of Cupid’s elimination tournament would unfold.

**First, instead of picking a fellow out of essential obscurity and making him famous by throwing 25 women at him, the producers decided to pick a new guy who has tasted some measure of celebrity in New York Giants backup Quarterback, Jesse Palmer. Now, while Palmer is an attractive man, he certainly isn’t the hot commodity that New England Patriots super stud Quarterback, Tom Brady, is. After all, Brady not only is a successful starter in the league, but he has won two Super Bowls in three years, elevating him and his golden smile to “Most Eligible Bachelor” status. Nonetheless, Palmer played at a huge football school at the University of Florida and has played several games for the Giants franchise. So, while he isn’t a true celebrity, he does have a different kind of appeal because his status as a professional athlete.

The obvious reason why this would be a good move for ABC is that the producers are obviously trying to reach a wider audience (MEN) with the reality show and they probably figured that securing an NFL Quarterback would be a good way to do that. At the surface, it’s probably a wise decision, especially when the season premiere features two of Palmer’s more famous teammates, Amani Toomer and Tiki Barber, rating the women and attempting to figure out whom Palmer would choose.

Also, as that first episode showed us, Palmer didn’t do much to shed the image of football players being “dumb jocks.” For the first time in “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” history, the one doing the choosing actually said the wrong name when handing out roses to the ladies he wished to keep and get to know better. When the last rose came, he said the name “Katie” and the 22-year-old belle from North Carolina thought she was sitting pretty. Unfortunately, the rose was meant for 28-year-old Karen, a former Miss Rhode Island. Palmer spoke to host, Chris Harrison, and he offered a way to get out of his blunder. If he came clean to Katie, then she would have the option to stay or leave and Palmer would also be able to give a rose to its intended receiver, Karen. Palmer quickly takes the deal, so 16 of the 25 women move on to “the next round” instead of 15. Way to go Jesse you made all jocks proud buddy!

That wasn’t the only new wrinkle to the show, however.

**Second, the producers have enlisted one of Palmer’s attractive female platonic friends to take part in the show purely as a SPY to see what the 15 remaining contestants are like when Jesse isn’t around and they only have each other. From there, “the spy” reports back to Jesse and fills him in on the good and bad characteristics of these women. Are they there for the right reasons? Have any of them led a grossly promiscuous lifestyle and didn’t mention it to “The Bachelor?” These are the type of questions the new spy will try to find out as she bonds with the other contestants.

Therefore, the producers have added a little bit of additional drama to a reality show that, in theory, already has a lot going on with all the relationships being formed. In addition, the identity of “the spy” has not been released either, so, it encourages viewers to “tune in again next week” to find out who the spy is and what she has to say.

Will it work? Initial ratings reports say probably not since the first episode finished behind the new Fox “Extreme Makeover-esque” show, “The Swan” and a “Law & Order” repeat on NBC in the first hour and behind another “Law & Order” repeat in the second hour. Could it be time to kill the dying franchise? If it’s massaged and taken care of appropriately (i.e. keep it as far away as “American Idol” and “Law & Order” as possible), I think the show can still muster up decent ratings, especially in the 10:00 PM hour when the WB, UPN and, especially, Fox, have gone to affiliates late local news. However, is treating this franchise with that much care for ratings that aren’t that are a shell of its former greatness? I’m sure we’ll find out what ABC thinks in coming months

I love the 90s, but is it too soon to relive them?

In my January 24th Groove Tube Update, I delivered this commentary as part of my column:

my friend from Minnesota and fellow TV/pop culture fanatic, Stacy, sent me a link to an article written by Andrew Glassman of The Hollywood Reporter and reposted several times over on sites like MSNBC.com.

The article was about all of these new shows that simply repackage older wonders of pop culture from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s into shows like “I love the 80s” and “Pop Up Video.”

Glassman quoted two different “Thompsons” on the issue.

Woody Thompson, a producer for VH-1’s “Pop-Up Video” calls these type of shows “TV Crack,” obviously referring to how addictive they can be when they are on the screen. In addition, Thompson believes they are good business, as he will also be producing “Pop-Up Culture,” a show similar to “Pop-Up Video” but without the videos, instead showing other forms of popular culture like television shows with random boxes that appear on the screen through out the segment.

While Woody Thompson thinks it’s great, Syracuse University’s resident television and popular culture guru, Dr. Robert Thompson disagrees with the value of these shows stating:

We are clear-cutting the pop cultural past a lot faster than we are reforesting it. Now we’re getting to the point where some of the most distinctive and memorable culture is repackaged culture.”

Essentially, he thinks that in the future, instead of looking back fondly at shows like “Happy Days” or “Growing Pains,” we will be looking back at shows like “I love the 80s” that merely reminisce of a previous pop culture generation. What will our contributions be from the first part of the 21st Century?

I don’t wish to get too preachy, but Dr. Thompson has a good point. We should do our best to add to and enrich the pop culture landscape now and not dilute it with memories of past decades. Whether that means being more creative and contributing with writing, music, or cinematography or even consuming some of that alternative media outside of what VH-1 spoon feeds us, it’s worth trying and thinking about.

Remember .reminiscing is OK, just make sure you return to 2004 when you’re done. It’s not bad here! Really!

Well, it looks like VH-1 has chosen not to heed the advice of Dr. Thompson, as, according to Zap2it, the music/pop culture network has greenlit the all new series, “I Love the 90s.” The series will be a mirror image of “I Love the 80s,” I Love the 70s,” and “I love the 80s: Strikes Back” and will bring a series of comedians, actors and assorted other B and C list celebrities together and comment about various important, influential, and indescribably (and incomprehensibly) lexicons of popular culture in the 1990s. It will likely include remembering television shows, movies, toys, items of clothing, music, music videos and other “popular” items, I’ll gently place under the category, “hodgepodge.”

What can you do? This series generates decent ratings, and even more importantly, a solid buzz for the network, which is especially important considering the recent format change away from just music (the MTV for the above 30 crowd) and more towards the nebulous subject of “pop culture.” Seeing as that’s true, VH-1 will continue to simply comment on and criticize various forms of popular culture instead of “reforesting” it as Dr. Thompson suggested until people stop paying attention to or commenting on it.

Is this an order for you to stop watching shows like “I Love the 70s/80s/90s?” Of course not. I’ll probably go right along with the ride and watch those shows too, at least to see what made the “list” of important pop culture “contributions” of the 1990s. However, I do have two questions: 1) Is this all you’re going to watch? I hope you give other forms of popular culture a chance to flourish and succeed as well. 2) When is this going to end? Is VH-1 next going to produce a series “I love the first half of the 2000s?” when we reach 2005 next year? I can only take so much “reminiscing” before I want to go live for myself

“The Surreal Life” lives on .just at a new address

Sometimes it’s hard to watch some of these reality series because they are portrayed as too serious for their own good. In the case of the new Fox dud, “Forever Eden,” the 11 contestants are all on a resort island and living wonderful life where they can eat gourmet food, drink as much as they want, work out with the best facilities available and enjoy the fun n’ sun that is this secluded vacation spot. Granted, they are competing to stay at the resort and win more money and all. However, the seriousness displayed by many of the people on that island is nothing short of ridiculous. This isn’t life and death, they aren’t fighting wars or debating world issues at the U.N. and it’s certainly not worth getting angry or upset about. They are hanging out on an island, eating great food, enjoying the sun and earning money for when they get back to their “normal lives.” Everyone just needs to relax

This takes me to another reality show that, thankfully, doesn’t take itself so seriously, and luckily, will be back for a third season after all. “The Surreal Life” was a show aired by the WB and featured a group of various former A-list celebrities (Corey Feldman, Erik Estrada, and Vanilla Ice for example), current C and D-list celebrities (Ron Jeremy, Traci Bingham, and Tammi Faye Messner), and some former reality stars from OTHER shows (Trishelle from “The Real World: Las Vegas” and Jeri from “Survivor”) living in a gorgeous Hollywood Hills mansion together and taking part in various team tasks as assigned by the producers of the show.

It’s a fun show that isn’t portrayed as life or death and the jovial, upbeat, almost dopey music that often plays in the background is a representation of the light tone exhibited. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, even when the celebrities inside the house get in little tiffs (or screaming matches) for various dumb reasons.

Also, watching these random celebrities engage in conversations and take part in activities together is quite humorous and almost mind boggling? Where else would a television audience watch Erik Estrada bestowing Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle the nickname “Johnny Rocket?” How about watching Trishelle from “The Real World” and Traci Bingham from “Baywatch” engaging in a shouting match with porn legend Ron Jeremy acting as the mediator? That’s only possible in one place and it’s on “The Surreal Life.” (Now, that I think of it that’s probably a good thing )

That’s why it’s so nice to see that the show has been moved from the WB to everyone’s favorite pop culture channel, VH-1 for a third season according to Reuters, The Hollywood Reporter, and TVBarn.com. The reports indicated that the show would return for it’s much ballyhooed third season later this year and would comprise of ten all new episodes. According to a statement posted on TVBarn.com, “The Surreal Life” “broke ratings records” for the WB during its second season earlier this year. However, it’s probably better for the show if it’s taken over by a cable network expecting low ratings instead of keeping it on a broadcast network where the fun, celebrity fluff would likely be lost forever.

The cast for the new season hasn’t been set yet, but why do I have the images of Corbin Bernsen, Stephen Baldwin, Jenna Jameson, Mike from “The Real World: Back to New York,” Tempest Bledsoe, and any member of The Bangles in my head?

*** Quick Hits ***

***Quentin Tarantino and “American Idol”? – It’s like Jenna Jameson showing up on an episode of “Sesame Street.” It’s like Pearl Jam and Britney Spears going on tour together. It’s like Paris Hilton renting a movie from Blockbuster and actually staying home on a Saturday night. Two completely opposite universes merging together, even it is just for a short period of time. That’s pretty much what I liken Quentin Tarantino showing up to be a guest judge on “American Idol” to.

Doesn’t it seem weird that the Oscar winning filmmaker, who has intensely studied film and popular culture and has created films that essentially transcended them will be appearing on America’s tackiest talent show to plug his new movie, Kill Bill: Volume 2? Well, we’re going to find out how weird it is when he shows up on Tuesday to sit in with Simon, Paula, and Randy as the remaining “Idol” finalists sing famous songs from the cinema.

Even stranger, Tarantino is apparently a big fan of the show, even sitting in the studio audience for one of the shows last season. I guess if you’re a popular culture expert/fiend like he is, you’re not going to discriminate against any form of popular culture, even if it includes Jon Peter Lewis and Jennifer Hudson

***The scariest woman in entertainment heads to “The Practice” – The first time I saw Rebecca De Mornay, she was the evil, murderous nanny in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. From that point on, she always scared the hell out of me no matter what she was doing. Even when she was Tom Cruise’s “love interest” in Risky Business, the whole time I thought she had a machete in her back pocket ready to take the young lad out.

Well, she’s ready to scare the pants off of me again on network television no less as she will begin a guest arc on ABC’s final episodes of “The Practice” in the coming weeks. According to Zap2it, De Mornay will be yet another lawyer at the firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt handling Alan Shore’s (James Spader) case wrongful termination case against Young, Frutt, and Berlutti. I thought that issue was taken care of in the last episode, but apparently, the legal dispute between the two parties will extend much further.

De Mornay will take part of the end of “The Practice” and will have the option of joining the cast of the new James Spader led legal drama to be launched by ABC this fall. If William Shatner ends up joining the cast, as is expected, the cast led by de Mornay, Spader, and Shatner will be very impressive and a potential draw by itself.

***The pregnancy is finally over It’s a BOY! – I think Debra Messing (Grace Adler from NBC’s “Will & Grace”) got my message from last week’s column. She knew she was pregnant for too long and decided this week that it was time for the charade to end and had a healthy baby boy Wednesday (4/7) in Los Angeles.

Messing has already been written out of the final three episodes of the season, including the season finale where (SPOILERS AHEAD!) Karen (Megan Mullally) marries Lyle Finster (Guest Star: John Cleese) in Las Vegas. Ironically, Grace’s husband, Leo (Guest Star: Harry Connick, Jr.), who’s been out of sight for most of the season, WILL be in attendance. I guess he’ll be there to make sure Grace is there in spirit

***Quick links – I know you were all hoping for this: “Queer Eye for the Straight Gal!”

Finally, who is getting a lifetime achievement award? He’s only 31!!!

CLOSING CREDITS: Would an all wrestling network work?

Imagine this it’s 7:30 PM on a Saturday night. You’re waiting for your buddies to get off work or to finish their homework so you can go out on the town and have a great time. You’re not interested in watching another “I Love the 80s” marathon on VH-1 or yet another syndicated repeat of “Friends” or “Everybody Loves Raymond” and your favorite teams are already done with their games for the day.

So, seeing as you’re tired with the basic programming, you turn to Channel 181 on your digital cable box and see that legendary wrestling match between Hulk Hogan and Goldberg from Monday Nitro from several years ago or Mick Foley winning his first WWF/E Championship in Worcester, MA. You can relive some of the great moments in wrestling in the comfort of your own home without forking out $39.95 for the PPV or $17.99 for the newest packaged DVD. If my idea for the Wrestling Channel ever came to fruition, that scenario would be possible and probably make a lot of wrestling fans happy.

I have thought about this prospect for several years now (and talked about it on Matt Biscuit’s moodspins.com too ). I truly think it could work. Of course, “the man with the master plan” would have to be the immortal Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Owner and Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He is the billionaire that has the money to fund it and with his vast library of old WWF/E, WCW, and ECW footage, it means he has the resources to produce wrestling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The main question that would arise is whether or not a potentially risky venture like this would make any money. I believe it could for two reasons. First, (as I will explain later) much of the programming that would air on this new network has already been bought and paid for, it would just be a matter of rebroadcasting it for the sake of the network instead of paying a substantial amount of money to produce a whole new lot of original programming. While I would expect several new series to be developed for this network, they already have a solid base of shows to fill the programming slots with.

Also, advertisers are always looking for ways to reach young men in the 16-24 age demographic (and beyond). It’s extremely difficult to reach this group of people primarily because they don’t watch as much television as people younger and older because of many other varying interests outside of television (like video games or other group activities for example). Since wrestling is big for the young men, I’m sure the Wrestling Network could secure a great deal of advertising from video game manufacturers, movie studios gearing movies towards a young male audience, record labels looking to push a particular artist, toy companies, ad even fast food franchises since men that age generally aren’t interested in learning to cook. Advertising would be one of the primary sources of revenue for a new network devoted to wrestling and I believe it could do very well in that respect.

Before I go any further, I do have to admit, the prospect of an all wrestling network could be quite daunting and many are probably thinking that it could never fill full days and weeks with programming without offering a lot of repeats, especially if the WWE retains its partnership with Viacom and airing RAW on Spike TV and Smackdown on UPN.

However, I do have a series of ideas that would fill the network with different programs and, in some cases, allow the company to dust off some old tapes stuck in “the vault” somewhere:

· Old WWF RAW and Smackdown shows – While the company may be embarrassed of some of the storylines from the earlier days, wouldn’t it be fascinating to see some of these other storylines unfold again as if we were watching them for the first time? Whether it’s McMahon/Austin or the Nation of Domination, or even the early and later days of D-Generation X, I think it could be quite fun to run these old shows as if they were happening now.

· Rebroadcasts of current WWE shows – Did you miss the most recent episode of RAW or Smackdown? The Wrestling Channel can rebroadcast those shows several times after the fact. HBO does it. Why can’t Vince McMahon?

· Old WCW Nitro and Thunder shows – I think the same theory that applies to the old WWF shows can be used here as well, just to a lesser degree since most of what the WCW production team threw out there as entertainment would be considered torture in some countries.

· ECW! ECW!!! – Seeing as ECW stands for EXTREME Championship Wrestling, I am sure Vince could pull some things together and the network could find some crazy stuff to air for its “holy shit” bump crazy audience.

· Old Pay-Per-Views – This could be a problem if the WWE continues to manufacture these events as separate entities to sell in video stores, but if they scale back on these and save the larger events like the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, or Summer Slam, they could surely provide “special broadcasts” of other pay-per-views.

· WWE House Shows – I don’t know how the company does it, but they can put together these house shows, events that are basically like sports exhibition games in that nothing of substance ever happens. It doesn’t really “count.” Yet, they constantly draw thousands of people and on my occasions sell out the arenas they are at. Well, what about the WWE broadcasting some of these house shows exclusively on the Wrestling Channel? There can be the occasional title change, and possibly even some storyline development that the normally televised shows do not necessarily get.

· Local federation work – Some of the stuff from local federations can be tough to watch at times. However, I think many fans would love to see rising stars in associations like Ohio Valley Wrestling. Hell, there are dozens of small, independent federations that would love to have their shows broadcast on a national level even if it wasn’t on a regular basis or if it was late at night/early in the morning.

· “Wrestling from around the world” As some of my colleagues in 411wrestling will likely attest to, the wrestling matches that take place in areas like Japan and Central/South America are nothing short of amazing. The storylines are intriguing and no one works better matches than some of the cruiserweights in other parts of the world.

· Ultimate Fighting – This is getting away a bit from the kind of entertainment WWE provides viewers but at the same time, there are several former wrestling stars such as Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott that are prominent in this arena and it could be an interesting pick up for the new channel.

· Byte This! – Perhaps the WWE could take this Internet exclusive talk show, stick it in a studio with an audience and turn into television talk show with a desk, chairs, and everything resembling the style of a late night talk show.

· WWE Confidential – This show, exploring issues and personalities in a “Dateline NBC” type way, can be quite interesting. The Wrestling Channel can increase the number of newer episodes produced and add them to the regular lineup.

· “WWE Biography” Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch biography type specials with some of wrestling’s greatest superstars? They could be stars of today like HHH, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, or the Rock. However, it also could extend back to stars of the past like Jimmy “Superfly” Sunka, Ricky Steamboat, Bruno Sammartino, and Billy Graham. It would be a great way to pay tribute to old and new stars, and those we’ve lost over time.

· Other original programming I definitely believe there definitely could be a market to see either 1) wrestlers out of their element in their ring or 2) anything that might give the fans of wrestling a backstage look of what goes in company like the WWE (hence the success of a show like “Tough Enough”).

These are just some ideas about what Vince and co. could do if they put their mind to it. The ideas for a venture like this are endless really. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is this would have been a better idea in 1999 or 2000 when wrestling received a lot of mainstream media attention and it was constantly garnering ratings twice what they are today in 2004, the age of the WWE “brand extension.”

Nonetheless, as long as there is wrestling and there are still several million people tuning in every Monday and Thursday, I think the idea is viable and could be a sound money making venture for Vince McMahon and his budding sports entertainment conglomerate.

In fact, I’m going to go think about it some more. In the mean time

Enjoy the show!

— Coogan