WWF spreads its `Attitude’

Aug 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The World Wrestling Federation will launch a new syndicated series called “WWF Attitude” on Sept. 8.
The series will air on the WB 100+ Station Group, which will plug the series in prime time as part of the group’s new fall lineup. The series is being custom-developed with the station group in mind after long negotiations between the WWF and the station group.
The group will lead off a new Saturday night block of matches and in-studio commentary designed to appeal to smaller towns with “WWF Attitude.” The WB 100+ Station Group airs programming on cable with broadcast stations as partners in markets above 100, combining for a clearance level the size of a large city.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for us,” said Lynn Stephanian, senior VP of programming and distribution at the WB 100+ Station Group. “We’ve had a relationship with the WWF folks for a long time and will now use this show as a springboard to appeal [to] the same young audiences The WB targets the rest of the week. While we’re appealing to young men in a broad sense, the WWF brings in all sorts of audiences that we target.”
Ms. Stephanian said the series content will include fresh matches not seen on the WWF’s other programs.
The station group will air the series in prime time at 8 p.m., following off-network airings of Warner Bros.’ “The Drew Carey Show.” The new weekly hour will be followed at 9 p.m. by Twentieth’s “World’s Wildest Police Videos” and by Western International’s “Cheaters” at 10 p.m. Litton’s boxing-themed hour “Thunderbox” will wrap up the night at 11 p.m. for the group.
For the WWF, “Attitude” marks its third series to hit syndication this season (following WWF “Jakked” and “Metal”). WWF has plans to place the show in markets 1 through 99 in the future.
“This is a new brand for the company, and with our other syndicated programs sold in 45 of the top 50 markets, it gives us a chance to focus on those towns which may not have access to our other shows,” said Jayson Bernstein, director of marketing communications for the WWF. “Now that they have a program to call their own, it adds an additional outlet in addition to our live-event shows.”
The WWF will handle all national ad sales time for the show.
Earlier this week, the WWF confirmed that “WWF Excess” will air on TNN on Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight, replacing older TNN series “Livewire” and “Superstars,” which debuted last Saturday night. The series is hosted by Jonathan Coachman and Trish Stratus and will feature highlights from that week’s live events, interviews with World Wrestling Federation Superstars and feature segments about World Wrestling Federation activities. Viewers will also have the opportunity to e-mail and call in questions for the Superstars.
“Saturday nights on TNN will become a new destination for viewers looking for the best in high-adrenaline sports and entertainment,” said Diane Robina, executive vice president and general manager of TNN. “We’re very excited that TNN will have the first World Wrestling Federation-branded program where viewers can interact with World Wrestling Federation Superstars. In addition, World Wrestling Federation fans will be attracted to TNN’s other adrenaline-charged sports and entertainment-TNN’S `Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors,’ professional bull riding and monster trucks.”
Additionally, the company is considering a sequel to MTV’s “Tough Enough,” which is averaging a 2.0 Nielsen Media Research rating in its cable universe and has exceeded the company’s ratings expectations, said Linda McMahon, president of WWF Entertainment.
In addition, WWFE announced during its August pay-per-view event that it would not license its Sept. 23 “Unforgiven” PPV event or future shows to DirecTV, after the two companies failed to extend a distribution agreement. As a result, more than 10 million DirecTV households will not have access to popular WWFE PPV events that cable operators will offer to their subscribers. Wrestling pay-per-views accounted for most of the top orders during the last year.
Ms. McMahon said during a press conference that the company could feel an impact of between $1 million and $1.5 million per month without DirecTV carrying WWF pay-per-views. Sources say DirecTV would suffer a similar impact.