WWE Raw, which currently airs on the USA cable network, has been a TV staple for more than a decade. It averages more than 5 million viewers a week and is the number 1 weekly program on cable TV. Yesterday, the program, which combines elements of action, soap opera drama and rock music, celebrated its 800th episode milestone with a three-hour special live broadcast in Tampa, Florida. Such longevity is perceived as validation of the durability of the show’s format, according to Vince McMahon, chairman of the board of directors of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and WWE’s majority shareholder.
“Years and years ago, stations would have a little studio, room for maybe 100 people, put up a 16-foot ring and have at it. Now, of course, we’re in major arenas all over the world. Fifteen thousand people will be watching us live, and you draw off that enthusiasm, that electricity,” Vince McMahon told Zap2it.com prior to Monday night’s broadcast of WWE Monday Night Raw.
“There is nothing better than live television. I have an expression that relates to live TV that everything that happens in live television is supposed to happen, even when it’s not — because the audience doesn’t know,” he added.
Now that WWE RAW has reached yet another milestone, Vince McMahon envisions the wrestling franchise to take on the rest of the world following live shows in the United Kingdom and Japan.
“It’s the second largest traveling show in the world, second only to the circus,” he said. “It can go on forever. When you think about it, we started when television was born.”
Meanwhile, WWE wrestlers are set to film in Iraq during the first half of December for the Tribute to the Troops, which airs around Christmas time on USA’s sibling network, NBC.
“We’re coming to the big show,” McMahon explained. “It’s an hour. We do it every year. We’re actually going to be in Baghdad this year. We move around some. And of course, when we do our really big show is the last day we’re over there.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of USA Network)