Paul Heyman Posts a Must Read Blog Heading Into Tonight

Nick Paglino

The Former ECW Owner and Smackdown Head Writer
Examines The Real Story Behind Tonight’s Head-to-Head
Competition Between USA Network and SpikeTV, and the
Key Network Decision Makers Who Will Influence Sports
Entertainment In The Year Twenty Ten.

In his first blog for 2010 on CraveOnline’s HEYMAN HUSTLE website, Paul Heyman has taken a most unique look at the  most-heralded Return of the Monday Night Wars. The Mad Scientist addresses the rumors of his own involvement in WWE / TNA’s head to head battle, plus also discusses what TNA can do to capitalize on this opportunity.
Key excerpt:

SpikeTV’s Doug Herzog and Kevin Kay smell blood. And that blood they smell is the bleeding caused by the erosion of Raw’s fan base. Slowly but surely, Raw’s core audience is getting older and older, and the indescribably-important "youth audience" is not being replenished. Despite World Wrestling Entertainment’s Push-to-PG, the Goliath of Monday Night Cable Programming’s product is stale, and the terms "hip," "happening," "socially relevant,"  or "pop culture phenomenon" don’t apply to Vince McMahon’s flagship cablecast anymore.
Raw, however, remains a powerhouse. Even the much-maligned "low 3′ ratings" are still way better than anything SpikeTV is pushing, and keep in mind Spike is the television home of the Ultimate Fight juggernaut. A decade past its heyday, Monday Night Raw is the driving force behind USA Network’s 4th consecutive sweep of the annual Cable Ratings Wars.
Doug Herzog and Kevin Kay’s target for Twenty Ten: Stop Bonnie Hammer.
Bonnie Hammer’s easy weekly ratings boost: Vince McMahon’s Monday Night Raw.
In the cutthroat world of television, the next step was a "gimme." Go after Raw. Put a dent in the already-dented armor of the Still-Standing-Giant.
So Herzog and Kevin Kay, along with "In Your Face" SpikeTV execs Sharon Levy and Brian Diamond decided to dip their toe into the shark-infested Monday Night waters. Looking at Spike’s positioning, you have to admit, it’s a pretty smart move. There’s no way for Spike to lose. Tonight, TNA will deliver three hours of primetime programming for the network, and next week, the network will air a live "UFC Fight Night" featuring Gray Maynard vs Nate Diaz.
Wait a minute. No Kimbo? No GSP? No update on Brock Lesnar? Doesn’t sound like a major head-to-head UFC vs WWE confrontation, does it?
SpikeTV wanted UFC to deliver programming for Monday Night, January 11th, because the execs at Spike want to see where Raw is vulnerable. Even if TNA bombs tonight, it truly doesn’t matter. The network is going to pick apart not only the Demo-trending, but also the minute-by-minute ratings for Raw and TNA. Where did Raw lose viewers? Did TNA pick any of those viewers up? What caused the television viewership to change channels? What caused them to stick with what they were watching?  Where can the counter-programming work to Spike’s advantage?
The real story of tonight’s head-to-head battle is not Vince McMahon vs Hulk Hogan, or the re-emergence of Eric Bischoff, or Stephanie McMahon’s vision for the future vs Dixie Carter’s vision for her company.  It’s about SpikeTV executives’ decision to curb the enthusiasm (oy vey) of Bonnie Hammer and NBC-U’s 4th consecutive Cable Grand Slam.

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