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The 7 - Pro Wrestling - What Happens if UPN Cancels Smackdown?
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HBK 2002
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#1 Posted on 27.3.02 1646.57
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1659.01
So they're finally doing the long-talked-about "brand extension." That's great. But what happens if UPN cancels Smackdown? It is, after all, a network TV show. And networks cancel TV shows all the time. I have heard that UPN and the WWF have a contract through the next television season, but what happens after that?

My questions is, do you think the WWF has a contingency plan in case UPN cancels smackdown? And, if so, what is it?
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zhixel
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#2 Posted on 27.3.02 1701.37
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1701.47
Maybe (hopefully) they'd try to pitch smackdown to a station that I actually get in something other than blur-o-vision. Smackdown must have been at least successful enough on UPN to prevent other networks from scoffing at it if it was pitched to them, I'd think.
Y2Disco
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#3 Posted on 27.3.02 1704.18
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1708.07
WWF having a contingency plan? Not if they treat the business side of things the way they treat the angles and storylines.

I don't see it getting cut, though. Does SmackDown still hold the spot as UPN's highest rated show?
HBK 2002
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#4 Posted on 27.3.02 1719.30
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1725.53
Smackdown is still UPN's highest rated show. But remember, Nitro was still one of TNT's highest rated shows when AOL/Time Warner decided to cancel all wrestling programming. In that case, AOL/Time Warner boss Jamie Kellner thought wrestling hurt the upscale image he hoped for. A new UPN programming chief could make a similar conclusion and cancel Smackdown.

The WWF's contract with Viacom could hurt the WWF's chances of finding a new home for Smackdown. Viacom has exclusivity rights for WWF programs. That clause kept the WWF from buying WCW the first time and paved the way for Fusient to "purchase" the company.
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#5 Posted on 27.3.02 1756.46
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1759.01

    Originally posted by Y2Disco
    Does SmackDown still hold the spot as UPN's highest rated show?


Pretty much every week, yes.

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#6 Posted on 27.3.02 1759.10
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1802.21

    Originally posted by HBK 2002
    Smackdown is still UPN's highest rated show. But remember, Nitro was still one of TNT's highest rated shows when AOL/Time Warner decided to cancel all wrestling programming. In that case, AOL/Time Warner boss Jamie Kellner thought wrestling hurt the upscale image he hoped for. A new UPN programming chief could make a similar conclusion and cancel Smackdown.

    The WWF's contract with Viacom could hurt the WWF's chances of finding a new home for Smackdown. Viacom has exclusivity rights for WWF programs. That clause kept the WWF from buying WCW the first time and paved the way for Fusient to "purchase" the company.



But when Nitro was on TNT, Turner not only owned the station, but the company too. Here, UPN doesn't have to worry about the cost of putting the show together, only airing it.
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#7 Posted on 27.3.02 1759.21
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1804.48
But doesnt Viacom own UPN? I heard that Viacom owns CBS, UPN, MTV, and TNN. So as long as WWF stays in bed with Viacom then I think Smackdown is safe.
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#8 Posted on 27.3.02 1803.57
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1806.46

There was actually a point in time when UPN was begging Vince for a second prime-time show.
odessasteps
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#9 Posted on 27.3.02 1808.47
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1810.15

Don't forgot that Smackdown was originally conceived as an all-women's show, showcasing Rena Mero.

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#10 Posted on 27.3.02 1827.01
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1829.02
There's no chance of UPN dropping Smackdown! unless the ratings would plummet.

More likely, Viacom would decide to shut down UPN, in which case Smackdown! could move to CBS, or more likely TNN or MTV.

There was talk after Viacom bought CBS that Smackdown! might get a summer tryout on CBS, but that was before Survivor hit and CBS became pickier about what they wanted on "The Tiffany Network".

But there's very little chance of UPN cancellng their top-rated show. The WWF's long-term deal with Viacom makes a contract dispute very unlikely. Smackdown! is probably going to outlive UPN.

If they moved to CBS, which again is a very long shot, they could wind up in the Thursday 9PM timeslot, with Survivor as a lead-in, but they'd also be apt to be moved around for special programming more often. If they wound up there, the ratings would probably double, at least in the short term.

Later, Rudy

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#11 Posted on 27.3.02 1850.21
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1850.38

Actually, right now CSI is CBS' baby. That airs on Thursdays at 9, and it's been doing a number on Must See TV, particularly with women.

Survivor will probably be dead by any time the WWF would move to CBS, as it's wearing out its welcome pretty rapidly. CSI, one could assume, would still be sufficiently strong at it's time slot to move to 8 and then to Smackdown!, but then the network would be catering to two completely different audiences in one night. As a rule, it seems, stations like to have some consistency in their programming for an evening.

Of course, this is all speculation, but it is worth pointing out since there always needs to be a contingency plan.
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#12 Posted on 27.3.02 1925.59
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1929.03
TNN would take Smackdown in a second. Hell, I think they would put on WWF every night if they could. Battlebots would just have to come on later.
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#13 Posted on 27.3.02 1927.03
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1929.04
"Don't forgot that Smackdown was originally conceived as an all-women's show, showcasing Rena Mero."

Serious? Bring that back!!

DMC
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#14 Posted on 27.3.02 1928.49
Reposted on: 27.3.09 1929.05

    Originally posted by Jackson
    TNN would take Smackdown in a second. Hell, I think they would put on WWF every night if they could. Battlebots would just have to come on later.


I thought during the summer last year the WWF tried to get more time on TNN but the network refused it?
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#15 Posted on 28.3.02 0014.18
Reposted on: 28.3.09 0018.54

    Originally posted by TheBucsFan

      Originally posted by Jackson
      TNN would take Smackdown in a second. Hell, I think they would put on WWF every night if they could. Battlebots would just have to come on later.


    I thought during the summer last year the WWF tried to get more time on TNN but the network refused it?



Well, they didn't refuse, but they wound up with Excess, instead of WCW Nitro, which may really never have been offered to them.

Whoever would take Smackdown! (which we have to remember, is still enjoying a very healthy run on a much stronger UPN than before) would have to give up a lot in return. The WWF takes over the whole programming block's ad sales, and just pays a small commission to the network. That's why TNN might balk, because they don't necessarily want to give up two more hours of prime-time ad inventory to land a WWF show, unless they can use it to bring more viewers to their network.

In terms of the amount of money that USA brings in in the Monday 9PM timeslot--they're making way more money there than they were back when they had RAW, but overall they're taking a huge financial hit because they're no longer the number one network, and that's hurt their ad rates across the board. It's a trade-off: You give up about two hours of ad sales, but your week-long avearage numbers get so pumped up that it can mean millions of dollars for your weaker shows.

But TNN has Star Trek, some very interesting movie packages, and a slate of new original shows that they don't want to have to program around RAW. It's good to have that big bump in the ratings, but it's not good to stereotype yourself as a "dumb guy's network". They had a hard enough time overcoming the stigma of being country.

MTV, on the other hand, is having a disastrous year, ratings-wise. Their all-day ratings are 40% lower than they were a year ago, and that's after figuring in the relatively strong numbers for "The Osbournes", "The Real World", "Tough Enough 2", and "Sunday Night HEAT". The ratings are down on TE2 and HEAT largely because fewer people will even watch MTV at all now. They could run wild with Smackdown! as a lead-in to the Ten O'Clock show on either Wednesday or Thursday. They wouldn't be sacrificing as much ad money (TNN is bringing in more money in prime time than MTV is now), and they could program shows that would appeal to the Smackdown! crowd.

And if they did chance running Smackdown! on CBS, they could move it to Wednesday, or run it live on Tuesday, but again that's a long shot. I think it'll remain a cornerstone of UPN for as long as UPN is around, and they're on the verge of making money, so that could be a long time.

Later, Rudy
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#16 Posted on 28.3.02 0742.55
Reposted on: 28.3.09 0759.02
But in Excess, they already had the two hours in the morning and simply transferred them to the evening.
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#17 Posted on 28.3.02 1119.00
Reposted on: 28.3.09 1128.09

    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    But in Excess, they already had the two hours in the morning and simply transferred them to the evening.


Big difference in the amount of ad dollars that TNN gave up, though. The ad rates for Saturday night are five to ten times higher than they are for Saturday Morning, and other evenings are higher than that (Saturday nights are the lowest-rated nights for TV, period).

Even with that, the loss of the morning recap shows was a compromise. The WWF wanted to keep them on, too, since they reached a kids audience that drove families to the house shows (a downturn in house show attendance started before they lost those shows, though, so there's not a clear correlation). They still produce Livewire and Superstars for the overseas markets.

It was during the negotiations with TNN that a few scenarios had been tossed out, reportedly including putting a live WCW show on Wednesday, or taping it Wednesday for airing on Friday. TNN didn't want to give up either night, since they have programming plans. They're saving Fridays for Star Trek programming (Deep Space Nine and Voyager will be coming to TNN in the next couple of years) and they're hoping to get the rerun rights to Survivor to anchor a night of original reality shows on Wednesdays. Saturday night was just about all that they felt they could offer the WWF for a two-hour program, although they would have taken a one-hour show on any night that the WWF wanted. McMahon didn't want to try and cram a brand extenstion into one weekly hour.

Probably a mistake on his part. A one-hour WWF show is much more attractive to any channel, because they can use it as a lead-in to other shows that need a ratings boost.

Later, Rudy
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