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WWE scores with move from TSN
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun




After almost a decade on TSN, WWE's flagship show is moving to a rival Canadian network.

In a massive deal announced this week, The Score is picking up the rights to Monday Night Raw and, in the process, becoming Canada's one-stop shop for all things WWE.

Starting Aug. 7, Raw will begin airing on The Score at 8 p.m. MT Mondays -- a one-hour tape delay from the live U.S. broadcast.

The network also will retain its contract for Smackdown but will move it into a Friday night slot to match up with the U.S. airdate.

To top it off, The Score will be launching a prime-time magazine-style show, discussing the latest WWE happenings in an in-house SportsCentre environment.

It's a sweet deal for WWE since network bosses have guaranteed Raw will never be pre-empted for other programming -- a luxury WWE didn't have on TSN despite regularly being the most watched program on cable TV in Canada.

And it's a big ratings coup for The Score, the No. 3 sports network in Canada, behind TSN and Rogers Sportsnet.

Although details of the deal were kept under wraps until a Toronto press conference Wednesday, insiders were well aware some kind of move was coming.

TSN has been increasingly upset by the graphic content on Raw, particularly sexual angles such as Edge and Lita's live sex celebration in January.
WHAT YOU THINK
Raw moving to The Score in Canada, Mondays at 10 pm ET will make you...
More likely to watch 10%
Less likely to watch 32%
Makes no difference 39%
I just tape it anyway 9%
Order a dish so I can get the U.S. version 10%

Raw also caused scheduling conflicts for TSN.

The network recently acquired the Canadian rights to Monday Night Football, which would have pushed Raw out of its Monday night slot during football season.

PRIME-TIME BOMB: The second modern-day edition of Saturday Night's Main Event was a ratings bomb.

The show finished dead last among the four major U.S. networks in its time slot Saturday, being beaten out by reruns on CBS, ABC and Fox. The final rating was a 2.6 for NBC -- 500,000 viewers lower than the abysmal rating number drawn by the previous SNME in March.

Despite the ratings failure, the show was a creative success.

Hulk Hogan and Batista both made their returns to the ring, amidst a pay-per-view quality mix of top-tier matches, title bouts and Diva action.

The time slot probably didn't help the rating -- Saturday night has never been a peak viewing period for the 18-34 demographic -- but the real reason for the low number was probably just a case of wrestling overkill.

Between Raw, Smackdown and ECW, WWE had already aired five hours of original programming that week, broken up over three nights.

After nine hours of wrestling over six nights -- in addition to syndicated WWE programming and local wrestling shows in many markets -- it may just have been too much for grappling fans to take.

Irrelevant of the reason, after two disastrous ratings, it's possible NBC will pull the plug on future WWE prime-time specials.

PAINFUL INJURY: Mark Henry will be out of action until 2007.

The World's Strongest Man tore his patella tendon off the bone during a six-man tag match during WWE's NBC special last Saturday.

He also split his knee cleanly in two.

RELATED LINKS

  • July 20, 2006: WWE stars kick TSN over Raw deal
  • July 19, 2006: TSN responds to Raw announcement
  • July 19, 2006: Raw jumps to The Score ... an hour later
  • July 16, 2006: WWE about to Score with RAW leaving TSN
  • July 14, 2006: Raw moving from TSN?