On wrestling jumping to a broadcast network (Wonkish)

by Paul William Tenny

Something I read this afternoon struck me as a bit lazy:

USA Network VP of Program Research Ted Linhart was asked on Twitter if WWE RAW could be moved to NBC to help boost network ratings. He responded: "Doesnt really work that way. NBC not able to move it, USA owns the rights to air & is very important part of our lineup."

Actually it does work that way. USA has an exclusive license to air RAW and probably has the right to reup that deal indefinitely, so RAW can't move unless USA allows it. But USA and NBC are both owned by NBC Universal, which is majority owned by Comcast, and you can't just ignore the modern reality of vertical integration.

If Comcast/NBC-U wanted RAW on NBC, they could order USA to drop it and that would be the end of it. Now, I don't know that wrestling would be a good fit there. It does very well in the young male demo but simply moving a show from one network of limited size to another network of larger size isn't going to guarantee higher ratings for that program or more profit for that network.

Additionally it wouldn't be a large net gain (if any) for Comcast/NBC-U because it would be taking money from the right pocket just to put it in the left.

That said, what Ted Linhart said was technically wrong. I don't think he was being intentionally dishonest and I'm certain he knows what's what. But his answer was a sort of shorthand that was so short that it borders on being false.

It's like saying that a show that got canceled last year can't be brought back exactly as it used to be four or five years later. It would be so difficult that it might as well be impossible, but it's not. You'd have to re-secure the cast and writers, most of whom have probably signed exclusive deals on new shows making them unavailable, rebuild the sets to enormous expense, etc. So tough that you'd have to move on with a few pieces missing even under the best of circumstances.

But impossible?


You can bring any show back if you put all the pieces together and if Comcast wanted wrestling on NBC, it could have it.

in Television


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1 Comment

So...did you Twitter him back? I don't have a Twitter account but my understanding is if you follow someone you can "converse" with them?

Just wondering -

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