As I’m sure most of you know by now, RAW will cease to be on Spike TV after this September. According to Worldscreen.com, Spike TV ended negotiations and issued a statement that they plan to “expand its investments in original programming and new acquisitions for its core audience.” It is being reported that WWE was attempting to increase the cost of their programing package deal to $40 million. It has also been rumored that WWE has already had preliminary talks with USA and FX.
According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer, the following having to due with Spike’s pullout are true;
*The is more to the story than being reported, but at this time neither side is at liberty to go into full details. It is believed full details will come out at some point.
*The announcement form Spike TV came as a complete shock to WWE and it is now believed WWE’s leverage in negotiations with other networks has been hurt. The impression many are under though, is that WWE wanted to return to USA in the first place. The current deal (signed in 2000) is for $28 million and as you saw above, WWE was rumored to be asking for $40 million, which is interesting when comparing the popularity of the product in 2000 to now.
*Rumor has it that TNT, TBS and FX are not interested and have turned down all WWE attempts to open negotiations. It is believed this is also bad news for any wrestling company that attempts to expand into cable television.
*As of this time, TNA has not spoken to Spike TV about getting a timeslot.
*There is no word on how this might effect a possible second season of Ultimate Fighter, since RAW was viewed as a strong lead in for the show.
*Spike TV is apparently under the impression that with the recent purchase of CSI:NY episodes, they can make up the difference for the loss of ratings RAW pulls in.
The Hollywood Reporter is also reporting on this. They opened the question if this may be the beginning of the end for the relationship between Viacom and WWE. Viacom, as you may know, is the parent company of UPN. The contract with UPN for Smackdown ends in September 2006.
You can read the full article here.
In a new twist, a Spike TV network executive speaking under the condition of anonymity told AP Television writer David Bauder that WWE programming was never as popular with the network’s advertisers as it was with viewers. The source also claimed that the Spike TV wants to move toward more scripted programming and less reality.
You can read the article here.
Credit- Worldscreen.com, The Wrestling Observer, The Hollywood Reporter & The Television AP