Ted Turner and TBS prexy Brad Siegel have finally lost patience with plummeting TV ratings and pay-per-view buy rates: Turner’s World Championship Wrestling federation has suffered its fourth shakeup in less than a year with exec VP Bill Busch out as head of WCW and former prexy Eric Bischoff back in control with Siegel.
Bischoff was ousted last September after a seven-year run atop the company in favor of Busch after a red-hot WWF took clear control of the wrestling audience. But ratings and interest in the fed continued to slide despite the seven-figure pickup of star WWF writer Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera a month later to lead the creative element of the company. Russo was then dismissed in January after refusing to accept a demotion. WCW execs have confirmed that they are seriously considering returning Russo to the fold now that Bischoff has returned.
The latest rating in the Monday night wrestling wars saw “WWF Raw” pulling a 6.21 while “WCW Nitro” earned a 2.52. Under Bischoff’s regime, the company broke cable records in 1996 and ’97, with ratings hitting as high as 7.