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This is the archive for February 2008

Smackdown - Saturday's Main Event?

In a move that boggles my mind, the CW and the WWE have announced that they’re unable to come to terms on an agreement to renew Smachdown’s contract, so the consistently top-rated show on the CW will soon be on a new TV network somewhere. Quite frankly, it’s an incredibly dumb decision, but when have networks ever made a smart decision regarding wrestling?

TNN cancelled its top-rated show, ECW on TNN, and constantly interfered with the product they were offering. Later, they picked up the WWE only to do the same thing to them. Now TNN uses TNA to fill in their weekend schedule. You’d think after going through three different companies, they’d learn the value of the ratings draw that is wrestling. I know that ECW and Raw were the top draws on Spike TV/TNN, though I doubt TNA is doing that much other than filling space.

USA had Monday Night Raw on forever, let it go, and as soon as it was available, picked it back up again where it’s consistently been one of the top rated shows on cable. Ratings are down from wrestling’s peak, but having one of the top draws on TV is never a bad thing when it comes to finding advertisers. We all know money is the lifeblood of television, and the WWE is far from an expensive product to produce like a scripted show would be.

Media Week says that wrestling isn’t the image the network is looking for. Considering their other big draw is America’s Next Top Model and shows like Gossip Girl, the CW seems to be shooting more for a female demographic, and males ages 18-49 on Friday nights isn’t part of their overall plan. I’d always believed the conventional wisdom that 18-49 was the key demographic for ad sales, but apparently the CW thinks differently. That’s probably why they’re a distant fourth in the ratings.

Where will Smackdown go? I don’t know. MyNetworkTV, which started as a network catering to women with prime-time soap operas, has now turned into a more male-oriented station with the International Fight League as its main ratings grabber. I have no doubt it’d immediately catapult MyNetworkTV from an incredibly distant fifth to a distant fifth, but advertising revenues would perk up instantly. Plus, unlike the CW which seems like it’s trying to fail, MyNetwork TV’s blend of reality police shows, accident footage, and fighting seems perfect for the soap opera that is wrasslin’.

Of course, I think an American Gladiators/WWE Smackdown tag team on Saturday nights for NBC would be a huge ratings grab. NBC’s always been friendly to the WWE, and Saturday Night’s Main Event is remembered fondly by wrestling fans. Besides, as Friday Night Smackdown proved, the WWE can draw steady ratings any night of the week. Why not stick it out there in the worst ratings night you’ve got?