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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

TNN Raw to be blacked out across Canada


By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling

 The National Network's debut broadcast of RAW Is War seen in some parts of Canada Monday night was a one time deal both The National Network (TNN) and The Sports Network (TSN) confirmed to SLAM! Wrestling today. The future editions of Raw Is War on TNN will be blacked out across Canada.

"TNN does not own the Canadian rights for Raw Is War. They aired it Monday with our permission because we were broadcasting the Olympics and we knew it was a big day for TNN. They were allowed Monday to show it but it will be blacked out from here on in," said Phil King, the vice-president Of programming at TSN.

"It is the same reason Formula One on Speed Vision gets blacked out. It is the same reason you don't see the Olympics on CNBC here in Canada. It is the same reason you won't see PGA on CN-NBC because they only bought the U.S. rights. These people are buying U.S. rights. They have no jurisdiction here in Canada," King explained.

David Schwarz, a spokesman and public relations representitive for the The National Network, confirmed that fact.

"TNN does not have the rights to Raw Is War in Canada. That's the bottom line," said Schwarz. "I have a memo here from our programming department at TNN and it says Raw Is War will be blacked out in Canada because we were unable to obtain the rights to the program," Schwarz said, adding that TNN does have the Canadian rights to air WWF Live Wire and WWF Superstars. Live Wire will be broadcast on TNN Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m. E.T. while Superstars will be on Sunday in the same time slot.

According to King, the black out is not the fault of TSN, TNN or the WWF for that matter. TSN was willing to allow TNN to show their version Raw on nights when TSN had other programming scheduled. King claims it was the cable companies who opted out of the deal.

"Don't blame TSN for blocking TNN out, we have nothing to do with it. We have a contract. Don't blame The National Network because they tried with the WWF to see if they -- like every other American station -- could get a simulcast so they could carry TSN's version of Raw but the cable companies didn't go along with the plan," said King.

Schwarz would not comment on whether TNN will actively pursue obtaining the Canadian rights from TSN when their contract with the WWF runs out in three years time.

King says selling the Canadian rights to the hit wrestling program is not something TSN is considering at this time nor does he think it would be profitable for TNN purchase them presently.

"Raw Is War is one of our Number One properties. However, it is highly unlikely that The National Network would ever want to buy TSN's rights for the simple fact that can't generate one penny of revenue. They can't sell ads in Canada. We can," said King.

A blacklash from irate Canadian fans who had hoped to watch TNN's broadcast of the show over TSN's edited version, has already begun. Michael Orser, a concerned fan in British Columbia has launched a protest site regarding the TNN - TSN Raw situation at http://www.geocities.com/wwftsn/.