Vince McMahon On Integrating WWE Talent Into Other FOX Shows, Says Anyone Who Wants Time Off Can Have It

Vince McMahon is on the cover of Variety this month in light of the billion-dollar plus deal WWE has made with Fox to air WWE programming on their flagship channel in the Fall. In his interview with the magazine, McMahon talks about talent getting time off, if he’d consider selling WWE and compares the longevity of the company to the military in that a new day is another day to prove oneself.

McMahon speaks about the $1 billion broadcast deal with with FOX, international expansion plans and more, including his response to John Oliver’s recent criticism that performers don’t get time off. Selected quotes from the exclusive cover story, written by VARIETY Business Editor Cynthia Littleton and TV reporter Joe Otterson, are below:

On WWE’s success:

“So few people understand what we do and how we do it. We’re different than anything else that’s out there. The respect factor is here, and now it’s global.”

On the WWE’s $1 billion Fox deal:

“WWE talent will be appearing on [Fox] programming. It’s going to be a totally integrated approach. We’ve never had a platform like this in terms of promotion. Fox is going to go all-in, and they’re great promoters.”

On criticism that WWE’s grueling schedule often has bad consequences for wrestlers:

“Anybody who wants time off can get time off. That’s easy. In addition to that, it’s easy to weave a talent in and out of a storyline. If they get injured, you’re not expecting that. Or if they have a family matter. Our characters are real people with real problems. It’s a revolving situation where this talent will work these dates, that talent will work those dates.”

On whether he’d consider selling all or a partial stake in WWE:

“We’re open for business.” He declines to elaborate.

On Ted Turner’s attempt in the ‘90s to turn World Championship Wrestling into a player on the scale of WWE:

“Ted Turner opened his checkbook and spent a lot of money buying our talent. We knew they’d do OK for a while, but we knew they couldn’t stand the grind.”

On WWE’s longevity:

“I liken it to the military. At the end of the day I’ve got these ribbons and all these medals, and I wake up the next morning, and every one of them is gone. You have to earn everybody’s respect every day, all over again, and I don’t take it for granted.”

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