USA Network is in a dead heat with TNT in the overall cable channel rankings for the first half of 2009. Typically USA Network would be the top network, but TNT has seem great ratings with the NBA Playoffs and finals. As such, USA Network’s Bonnie Hammer has been doing everything in her power to spike a few ratings in late June and overtake TNT for the 2009 lead.
Hammer called Vince McMahon to add a third hour for June 15’s Raw 3 For all. USA is running movies and some programming as commercial-free, including the June 22 edition of Raw.
As part of the push, Vince McMahon and Donald Trump have worked out a short-term deal for Trump to become the storyline owner of Raw. Trump is a staple for NBC with the Celebrity Apprentice, and both NBC and USA are under the Universal corporate umbrella. Of course Trump and McMahon last worked together on the big Wrestlemania 23 hair vs hair match, which remains one of the biggest drawing angles in wrestling history.
Trump was announced as the owner of Raw, and made several storyline decisions to explain USA Network’s ratings grab. Next week’s Raw is designed to be a ratings lightning rod, with the Triple H vs Randy Orton match for the Raw title (Last Man Standing) as well as the announcement of a new Raw GM. The crowd chanted for Ric Flair when the new Raw GM was brought up, and he remains the leading candidate.
The Trump story should develop further this week as we find out more about the terms of the deal and exactly how it went down. WWE expects some mainstream publicity from the move, and there is internal hope for a very high rating for the June 22nd edition of Raw.
Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs