×

TNN in the grips of Extreme wrestling

Cabler shares ECW's revenue including telecasts, arena events, merchandising

NEW YORK — CBS Cable’s TNN has jumped into the pro wrestling arena by cutting a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling to produce a weekly one-hour Friday night show.

TNN hopes to capitalize on the popularity of the two major pro wrestling outfits, the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.

The WWF generates cable’s highest ratings on USA Network and the WCW scores strong ratings for TNT and TBS. In the fall, broadcast weblet UPN will premiere its own Thursday night WWF show.

The ECW, which produces six pay-per-view events each year, is known for pushing the envelope on violent content. But TNN and ECW execs said the shows will be toned down for basic cable.

“We’re not going to go off the deep end,” said David Hall, prexy of TNN. “The WWF has gone a little too far.”

Seeking dudes

TNN, which will premiere the ECW series on Aug. 27 at 8 p.m., is counting on the pro wrestling show to draw young men to the cabler. TNN will pair the ECW on Friday nights with “Rollerjam,” which has attracted a significantly younger audience to the web.

In an unusual three-year deal between TNN and ECW, the cabler will share in the revenue of all of ECW’s activities, including its TNN telecasts, PPV events, arena events, homevideo, magazines, CD compilations, e-commerce and merchandising.

ECW managing director Steve Karel said that TNN’s ECW shows will differ from both the WWF and WCW.

An integrated approach

“We’re going to return to the meat and potatoes of wrestling athleticism in the ring,” said Karel. “The storylines and characters will develop from the activities in the ring, not like the other guys, who focus on storylines that have nothing to do with the ring action.”

Although ECW is not well known nationally, Karel said that the WWF and WCW have been paying close attention to the league. Karel said that many of the wild stunts and sexual innuendoes featured in the WWF and WCW were lifted from ECW.

In addition, he said the two bigger wrestling organizations have hired away 30 of ECW’s performers in the last 18 months.

Paul Heyman is the owner of ECW parent HHG Corp. and exec producer of ECW.

More TV

  • Christopher Meloni11th Annual CNN Heroes: An

    Elliot Stabler Series With Christopher Meloni Set at NBC

    Christopher Meloni is bringing his “Law & Order: SVU” character back to television. Variety has confirmed with sources that Meloni will return as Elliot Stabler in a new NBC series that hails from “Law & Order” mastermind Dick Wolf. The show has received a 13-episode order at the broadcaster. The show will reportedly follow Stabler as [...]

  • New Orleans Saints running back Latavius

    CBS, NBC Nab New NFL Wild-Card Games in Expanded Season

    The NFL will be seen by a wider crowd – including kids – after the league struck deals with CBS and NBC to show new Wild Card games to audiences via such outlets as Telemundo and Nickelodeon. The NFL’s various teams approved the expansion of the game’s post-season, a move that had previously been set [...]

  • HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

    'How To Get Away With Murder' Team Reflects on Road to Series Finale

    Viola Davis never wanted to be a TV character, but for the last six years much of her professional life has been devoted to being just that — the brilliant but often intimidating Annalise Keating on ABC and Shondaland’s “How To Get Away With Murder.” Now, the show is wrapping up its six-season run with [...]

  • I Know This Much Is True

    HBO Moves Mark Ruffalo Limited Series 'I Know This Much Is True' to May

    HBO has shifted the premiere date of the Mark Ruffalo-led limited series “I Know This Much Is True.” The six-episode series will now debut May 10. It was originally set to begin airing on April 27. The show moves into the date previously reserved for the limited series “The Undoing” starring Nicole Kidman. HBO announced [...]

  • Illustration of the video streaming company

    Video Streaming to TVs Soared 85% in U.S. in First Three Weeks of March, Nielsen Says

    During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are staying home — and, as you would expect, they’re streaming more than ever. U.S. consumers’ viewing of streaming has continued to increase through March. Over the first three weeks of March 2020, the total estimated number of minutes streamed to the TV was 400 billion, up 85% compared with [...]

  • The Nanny Zoom Chat Quarantine

    'The Nanny' Original Cast to Reunite For Virtual Table Read (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nanny Fine, Maxwell Sheffield and the rest of the gang are getting back together on April 6 — but not in the way you might think. “The Nanny” creator and star Fran Drescher teased on her Twitter page last week, in response to a fan who wanted to watch the popular ’90s sitcom online, that [...]

  • Roman Ritual

    ‘[REC]’s’ Paco Plaza, Enrique Lopez Lavigne Set to Adapt ‘Roman Ritual’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — Paco Plaza, co-director of [“REC”] and Netflix hit “Veronica” – is attached to write and direct “Roman Ritual,” inspired by the cult graphic novella from Spain’s El Torres,  and created together with producer Enrique López Lavigne (“28 Weeks Later,” “The Impossible”). Envisaged as an event series – and sure to discomfit some and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content