'Slam' to anchor kids programming block

WWE is getting its wrestlers back on Saturday mornings, as the company has seen its younger fanbase grow since embracing a family friendly PG rating for all of its shows in 2008.

Some of WWE’s more youth-targeted series included “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling,” while “WWF Mania” and “WWF LiveWire” also aired on Saturday mornings, with the latter ending its run on TNN in 2001.

“WWE has a long history on Saturday mornings, and we’re thrilled to make our action-packed return on Vortexx with ‘WWE Saturday Morning Slam,’?” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO. “The new program enables us to further engage kids and families, a vital component of WWE’s passionate and multi-generational fan base.”

“WWE Saturday Morning Slam,” a co-production with Saban Brands, will anchor the CW’s new Vortexx-branded kids programming block beginning Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. Vortexx is an affiliate of Saban.

WWE’s new half-hour show will feature an exclusive WWE match each week, profile its talent and offer behind-the-scenes footage, while also promoting the company’s anti-bullying campaign “Be a Star.”

The series reps the first time WWE has had a kids-targeted program on the air since 2001. But it comes as younger auds now make up around 20% of the company’s viewership. That has grown over the past year as WWE has introduced more family friendly characters like Brodus Clay, who brings kids into the ring each week to dance after winning matches.

The show also serves as another weekly series for WWE to collect a license fee, after recently setting up the hourlong “WWE Main Event” on ION Television, which bows Oct. 3. It also airs “Monday Night Raw” on USA Network and “Friday Night SmackDown” on Syfy. The company has sought to recoup lost advertising dollars after “WWE Superstars” ended a two-year run on WGN America, and “NXT” moved online.

Other series set to air on Vortexx include “Justice League Unlimited,” “Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy,” “Dragon Ball Z Kai,” “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” and “Iron Man: Armored Adventures.” “Cubix” and “Rescue Heroes” will air during the educational timeslots.

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