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   Mon, April 4, 2005



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WWE returning to USA Network
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. has announced that it has reached a new broadcasting agreement with the USA Network.

The three-year agreement will see WWE programming return to the popular United States-based cable station in October of this year. WWE had previously been broadcast on USA before it moved to The National Network (now known at Spike TV) on September 25, 2000. Among the shows on USA were Monday Night Raw, which debuted in January 1993.

"I'm thrilled to be back in business again with Vince and Linda McMahon," said USA Network and Sci Fi Channel President Bonnie Hammer in a release. "I led the USA team that helped grow RAW into a true pop phenomenon, and it's great to welcome it home."

The deal includes the U.S. broadcasting rights for Monday Night Raw and a one-hour Raw-brand weekend program. The deal also includes two 90-minute specials on NBC (the parent company of USA Network) during each year of the agreement, as well as the Spanish-language broadcasting rights of Raw for NBCU?s Telemundo network.

"This broad and diverse distribution will provide WWE excellent platforms from which to reach our existing fans as well as broaden our audience," said WWE CEO Linda McMahon in a release. "We're very happy to be returning to USA Network, where we experienced some of our greatest successes, and to NBC, where we had tremendous success with our series of late-night specials, Saturday Night Main Event, in the 1980s."

"The WWE's return to USA Network and our arrangement with the other NBC Universal properties, is indicative of how we as a company can offer unique cross-networking opportunities," said Jeff Gaspin, president NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cross-Network Strategy, in a release. "RAW will put USA and NBC Universal Cable into an incredibly competitive position and I couldn't be happier about this relationship."

-- with files from Businesswire.com

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.