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25 September 2012

Wrestling News Media: WWE leans toward launching pay-TV channel; The Richest Wrestlers in the World...

Wrestling News Media: WWE leans toward launching pay-TV channel; The Richest Wrestlers in the World; Wrestling reality TV tie ins; U.S broadcast first, Australian Foxtel may follow lead; WWE Wrestlers in movies...

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WWE leans toward launching pay-TV channel...

Are there enough John Cena and Triple H fans to justify the launch of a WWE pay cable channel?

That's what WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and the rest of the executive team are going to be wrestling with for the next few months.

More than three years ago, McMahon unveiled plans to create a WWE cable channel that would capitalize on the company's vast library as well as feature new programming. But since then there have been lots of fits and starts and delays but no channel and little about it coming out of the WWE. Wall Street is eager to see movement because WWE has been telling investors it thinks having its own distribution platform could be a game changer for the company.

"You guys need to say more than you have," an exasperated Brad Safalow, an analyst with PAA Research, said on the WWE's second-quarter-earnings call last month. McMahon promised more clarity on the company's next earnings call. So far, WWE has spent about $40 million developing a programming service, according to its financial filings.

The reason WWE is being cagey is that it is still not sure what kind of channel it will launch. Originally, WWE wanted to build a broadly distributed commercial channel with hopes of getting a subscription fee in the neighborhood of 20 cents per month per subscriber.

However, not only is space tight on most cable and satellite systems, there were concerns about the amount of WWE content already available limiting the growth potential of a stand-alone commercial network. WWE has shows on the USA and Syfy cable channels and a new program for the ION broadcast network. It is also producing a kids show for the CW Network.

"Clearly the cable operators didn’t view what they brought to market as compelling enough," said Safalow in an interview.

Now the WWE is switching gears and focusing its efforts on creating an HBO-like pay cable channel that consumers would order on an individual basis and that would be commercial-free, people familiar with the company's thinking said.

On paper, the WWE certainly has a base to support such a venture. It produces a dozen pay-per-view events every year. In 2012, through eight events, WWE is averaging 250,000 buys in the United States. "Wrestlemania," its biggest event, had 850,000 buys. Add in international purchases and those figures grow by several hundred thousand. The price tag for WWE's pay-per-view programming is $44.95, except for "Wrestlemania," which goes for $54.95.

If WWE goes forward with a premium channel, it would likely place some or most of its pay-per-view events (which besides "Wrestlemania" includes "Summer Slam" and "Royal Rumble") on the network to entice people to sign up. That does not mean WWE would get out of its lucrative pay-per-view business. It will try to have its cake and eat it too by continuing to offer its events on pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Also, "Wrestlemania" would likely remain strictly a pay-per-view event.

The price tag WWE would seek for a premium channel would be north of $10.00 a month and perhaps as much as $15.00, which would be cheaper than buying all or even half of the pay-per-view events. Typically, the subscription fee is split 50-50 between the programmer and distributor.

Besides its pay-per-view content, WWE would also create some new shows that would complement its content on other channels and use its library fare as well.

"Subscribing to the network would be a 'no brainer' for the company's hardcore fans," Safalow wrote in a recent report. Safalow said he anticipates a price of $14.95 for the channel and that WWE should be able to get 400,000 subscribers out of the gate and almost double that in two years. In 2014 Safalow projects that a pay channel could add as much as $141.6 million in revenue to WWE.

Whether pay-TV distributors will be on board remains to be seen. The PPV revenue that WWE generates for cable and satellite operators is not insignificant. There may be fears that making the majority of that fare available on the channel too will hurt the pay-per-view business without proof that there is enough appetite to sustain a full-time network.

The WWE is still not ready to declare what type of channel it is planning. George Barrios, the WWE's chief financial officer would only say: "The WWE Network in any form is a transformative opportunity if we execute it right." As for the growing impatience on Wall Street over the network, Barrios said: "It is taking the appropriate amount of time for us to identify the best strategic and financial opportunity.”
Despite the slow pace of the channel's development, analysts such as Safalow are not ready to throw in the towel. The WWE's recently launched YouTube channel WWE FanNation has already become one of the most popular outlets on the site with more than 600,000 subscribers, an amount that Safalow feels is further proof that there is a market for a cable outlet.

"Vince is a very competitive empire builder," Safalow said. "Whether you like him or what his product is, he runs a very good business and has a very long history of building upon his success." (LA Times)


George Clooney Reportedly Splits From Stacy Keibler...

Actor George Clooney has split from former WWE Diva Stacy Keibler, The Sun reports.
Keibler reportedly told her friends her relationship with Clooney is over. A statement is expected any day announcing the couple have split amicably.

A friend of Keibler's told the publication, "She said George wants to be on his own again and has no intention of getting married. Stacy hoped they would be together long-term. It was a big breakthrough to spend time with his parents. But over the last few weeks George has pulled away from her."

The couple had been romantically linked for over a year.


CNN TV - Flair interviewed on Lawler...

Ric Flair appeared on CNN Headline News's "Evening Express" to discuss Jerry Lawler's heart attack during Raw. Flair defended Lawler, 62, wrestling at his age and WWE allowing Lawler to be physically involved in WWE shows, saying he believes Lawler is more qualified to wrestle than many other wrestlers on the roster because he has 40 years of in-ring experience and some younger wrestlers on the roster have five or fewer years of experience.

Flair added that "great medical advances" have been made to protect wrestlers and the medical care available ringside and backstage probably saved his life. Flair concluded the interview: "Nobody made Jerry get in the ring. He got in the ring because he's a great pro."


NICK HOGAN: Jerry Lawler Should Quit Wrestling After Heart Attack...

Hulk Hogan's son Nick Hogan is incredibly relieved that Jerry "The King" Lawler has stabilized since his heart attack Monday night -- but tells TMZ, it might be time Lawler considered retirement.

Nick tells us, wrestling "takes a toll" on your body -- and as a result, "most guys retire around 50ish." Lawler is 62.

According to Nick, people in the wrestling business have varied career lengths -- but when injuries come into play, it's hard to ignore the obvious ... it's time to slow down.

Nick uses his own dad as an example -- saying even his 59-year-old father has cut back drastically on wrestling because of serious back injuries.

Nick's parting words -- "Our prayers are with you, Jerry. Glad to hear you're alright."


The Richest Wrestlers in the World...

Who are the richest wrestlers in the world? For anyone whose parents say you’ll never make any money learning to take a folding chair to the face, immediately show them this list. Over the last 30 years, Vince McMahon has turned the WWE, formerly WWF, into one of most popular and profitable sports companies in the world. In the process McMahan has made dozens of wrestlers extremely rich. He also earned himself an astonishing personal fortune. Today, WWE Raw and SmackDown are consistently some of the top ten most viewed shows on cable television, attracting between four and six million viewers each week. WrestleMania XXVIII aired on April 1st 2012 and was the highest grossing event in the company’s history with nearly $70 million in pay per view revenues. But who are the richest wrestlers in the world?

***The figures contained in this list were acquired from all publicly available information including salaries, real estate holdings, divorces, record sales, royalties and endorsements. The final net worths come from a formula that takes out taxes, manager’s fees, agents’ fees, and lifestyle.***

The Richest Wrestlers in the World:

#1: The Rock Net Worth – $70 Million
#2: Steve Austin Net Worth – $45 Million
#3: John Cena Net Worth – $35 Million
#4: Big Show Net Worth – $30 Million
#5: Triple H Net Worth: $25 Million
#6: Kurt Angle Net Worth – $20 million
#7: Chris Jericho Net Worth – $18 Million
#8: Shawn Michaels Net Worth – $17 Million
#9: The Undertaker Net Worth – $16 Million
#10: Mick Foley Net Worth – $15 Million
#11: Bret Hart Net Worth – $14 Million
#12: Edge Net Worth – $14 Million
#13: Sting Net Worth – $13 Million
#14: Brock Lesnar Net Worth – $12.5 Million
#15: Goldberg Net Worth – $12 Million
#16: Batista Net Worth – $10 Million
#17: JBL Net Worth – $9 Million
#18: Rey Mysterio Net Worth – $8.5 Million
#19: Kevin Nash Net Worth – $8 Million
#20: CM Punk Net Worth – $7.5 Million
#21: Jerry Lawler Net Worth – $7 Million
#22: Randy Orton Net Worth – $6 Million
#23: Alberto Del Rio Net Worth – $6 Million
#24: Hulk Hogan Net Worth – $5 Million

***Hogan lost an estimated $25 million in his divorce from ex-wife Linda Hogan. Linda was awarded 70% of the couple’s liquid assets, a 40% stake in all of Hulk’s companies, six luxury cars and millions more in property***

#25: Ric Flair Net Worth – $5 Million
#26: The Miz Net Worth – $5 Million
#27: Rowdy Roddy Piper Net Worth – $4 Million
#28: Chyna Net Worth: $1.5 Million

Other:

Vince McMahon Net Worth – $500 Million
Randy Savage Net Worth – $8 Million


Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Brings His Action-Oriented Brand to TV: New Reality Show 'The Hero' Poised to Premiere in 2013 ...

Likeable action-oriented film star, and wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brings his brand to TV in the TNT reality competition show, “The Hero.” Set to premier in the summer of 2013, “The Hero,” (a working title), pits 10 housemates against one another in missions that will “test their brains, their brawn and even their morality,” TNT says. Johnson will serve as mentor and executive producer along with Dany Garcia, his production partner. The network has ordered eight episodes from Ben Silverman’s multimedia entertainment studio, Electus and 5×5 Media, and the show plans to use social media extensively, seizing on Johnson’s 10 million fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Viewers will vote each week for the contestant they consider to be the most heroic. “The Rock is the embodiment of ‘The Hero’ and an inspirational superstar with an unwavering moral compass,” said Ben Silverman, founder and chairman of Electus. “‘The Hero’ will deliver on his brand as an incredible action-filled series that test the limits of real people in extraordinary circumstances while also activating the Rock and Turner’s audience with seamless digital and social media tie-ins. “Dany and I couldn’t be more excited to enter into our first official foray in TV production,” said Rock. “The Hero speaks to everything I believe in when it comes to challenging ourselves, to becoming better people every day and to making the right choices while growing from the wrong ones. Bridging the digital and physical world on the small screen in a way that’s never been done before will enable fans to use social media and on-screen decision making to determine the fate of the show’s contestants, and our goal is to make each TV moment impactful and exciting.” The premise of Hero is bringing together ten "ordinary people" in one house and then assigning them "various missions that will test their brains, their brawn, and even their morality." Social media will be a strong component of the show. TNT described the social media aspect. "In a unique twist on the reality-competition format, The Hero will incorporate social media into every facet of the show, from pre-production and casting to on-location shooting and live broadcasts. Through the show’s interactive digital platform, viewers will be able to vote each week for the contestant they consider to be the most heroic. The series will also leverage the power of Johnson’s enormous social-media following, which includes more than 10 million fans through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube."
Hulk Hogan to star in new reality show... Los Angeles - Hulk Hogan is to star in a new reality TV show to find the next big British wrestling star. The legendary wrestler is to be a mentor onTNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp, which will follow the company's search for a breakout star who can make it in the US. The series will air in December in the UK. Dominic Wilkins, acting Director of Challenge TV who will air the series, can't wait to see Hogan put the hopefuls through their paces. 'The series will provide entertainment content' Wilkins said: "TNA Wrestling has a huge fan base in the UK and it's great to be able to commission exclusive original content which cements Challenge TV as the UK home for TNA Wrestling. This series will provide unmissable entertainment content which resonates with our viewers." The six-part series will feature four of the best wrestlers Britain has to offer competing for a contract with TNA IMPACT Wrestling. Twins Hannah and Holly Blossom will be joined by Marty Scrull and Rockstar Spud as they seek to impress mentors Hogan and British World of Sport legend Rollerball Rocco and TNA President Dixie Carter. Winner to join company's roster The winner will earn a place on the company's roster, joining the likes of Sting and former Olympic Gold medallist Kurt Angle on the UK's most-watched wrestling programme. They will also feature on TNA's Road To Lockdown Tour of the UK and Ireland in 2013, which culminates with a TV taping at Wembley Arena, London. TNA Wrestling British Boot Camp marks the first non-game show commission from Challenge TV since their relaunch last year, and is the channel's first full commission with TNA Productions.
Former WWE star Stacy Keibler to host new Lifetime TV show... Former WWE Diva Stacy Keibler will host a new "reality competition series" centered on food products to air on Lifetime Network. Lifetime announced Friday a ten-episode order of the new "Supermarket Superstars" series, but did not announce when the show will air. According to the description, Keibler will host the show in which "aspiring food product inventors will pitch their concepts to a panel of industry experts for a once in a lifetime chance to have their creation launched nationally in a major grocery chain." Lifetime's press release focuses on Keibler's TV show resume and being a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," but does not mention her WWE background.
Edge returns to Syfy's "Haven"... Edge returns to Syfy's hit series "Haven" as a recurring guest star in the show's third season, including the U.S premiere, Sept. 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Orton's movie wife revealed... The latest actress to portray Randy Orton's wife in a fictional setting is Cindy Busby, who is local to Vancouver, Canada, where WWE Studios's "12 Rounds: Reloaded" is being filmed. Cindy announced on Twitter this weekend: "Yup! Playing @RandyOrton 's wife in 12 rounds! Say what?!?!" Orton tweeted Saturday night: "Having dinner with @roelreine the Director of #12RoundsReloaded and @cindy_busby, my movie wife. Don Julio + sugar lime = 1 kick ass movie."
Miz talks change to good-guy role... In an interview with the Times Record News (Texas) promoting next weekend's WWE house show tour, The Miz talked about how he handled the transition to a good-guy role for WWE Studios's "Marine 3" movie. "I derived that character from a bunch of old movies ... a lot of Paul Newman movies. I haven't played a good guy in seven years," Miz said. Going back in time to when he was in Developmental, Miz credited Billy Kidman for keeping him going even when everyone else thought he should quit. "It was brutal just having people tell you you're not going to make it. But that was the fuel," Miz said. "One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten was from Billy Kidman, who said, 'Stick with it.'"
WWE star films Nick show this week... Prior to joining Raw's weekend house show tour, Big Show spent the week in Pittsburgh filming scenes for a Nickelodeon TV show, according to WWE's website. Show filmed scenes for the second season of Nick's "Supah Ninjas" show, which premieres in 2013. Show plays the role of a super-sized biker and prison escapee named "Two-Ton Harley."
Edgy WWE videos are back -- after U.S Election Day... Earlier this month, WWE announced it would be taking off YouTube and other websites some of its raunchier wrestling videos, a move that was widely seen as designed to help the company's ex-CEO, Linda McMahon, spruce up her image for her U.S. Senate race. Well, the company isn't quite consigning those clips to the trashcan. In November, just after the election, WWE will be releasing an "Attitude Era" Blu-ray. WWE spokesman Brian Flinn says the Blu-ray will be rated PG and will reflect the company's family-values marketing of recent years. This is how the product is described on Amazon.com: "In the late-90s, WWE was struggling for ratings survival while a cultural shift in the viewing audience's taste was occurring. ... Enter Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Mankind and the notorious crop of edgy and fearless Superstars who ushered in The Attitude Era. Now in this 3-Disc DVD set, fans can own all the infamous moments from this controversial and revolutionary era that redefined sports entertainment for an entire generation. Over 8-hours of envelope-pushing content includes all the aggression, antics and innuendos that proved to be the perfect cocktail for an explosion of popularity."
WWE legend Dave Bautista set to make mixed martial arts debut... Former WWE superstar Dave Bautista is slated to make his mixed martial arts debut on Oct. 6 against Rashid Evans, in the main event of the "Real Pain" card from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Bautista, who performed in the WWE in the early-2000s as "Batista," is making his MMA debut at age 43. Dave Bautista is set to make his MMA debut on Oct. 6. Luckily, his opponent, Evans, is also an MMA newcomer who has no pro fights under his belt. Evans is not to be confused with former UFC champion Rashad Evans. On Sept. 1, it was announced that UFC veterans David Loiseau and John Howard were added to the "Real Pain" card, adding a little credability to a card headlined by two combatants with 0-0 records. Loiseau (20-10) hasn't fought in over a year, as he battled through an elbow injury that sidelined him since Feb. of 2011. He'll be fighting 32-year-old Chris McNally (5-4). Howard's opponent is yet to be determined. He (11-7) is 3-0 since getting released from the UFC last year. The main card of "Real Pain" will air on DIRECTV per-per-view for $29.95. Bautista has also nicely timed things with the upcoming release of 'The Man With The Iron Fists' movie, where he shares the screen with movie legends such as Australia's Russell Crowe. How cool is that - 'The Animal' VS 'The Gladiator'. *Special thank you to WWE, TNA Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Torch, Wrestling Inc and Google News for assistance and references in compiling this news report. Websites

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