DEADSPIN: Fox Landed WWE By Promising Them Everything They Ever Wanted


In early 2001, there was a media conference of some kind—contemporaneous reports don’t say which—that featured both Barry Diller of USA Networks and Mel Karmazin of Viacom as guests. Diller had just lost the WWE (then WWF) television package to Karmazin about six months earlier, and that fact came up during the conference. “It’s amazing what [the WWF] has done for us,” said Karmazin. “It’s enabled us to rebrand TNN [later Spike TV and now The Paramount Network], and in January we were the fastest-growing cable channel. Our audience was up 129 percent.” Diller, for his part, was reeling from his network’s loss of programming that had, in some form, anchored USA for its entire existence.

But while it was not necessarily a surprise that Diller was negative about the now-departed wrestling shows given the context, the volume and intensity of the venom he directed at the promotion was shocking given the near-quarter century history of wrestling on the network.

“That audience, 12- to 19-year-old, pimply-faced, mean-spirited males—came, watched and went on to whatever godawful other pursuits,” said Diller. “USA Networks is doing just fine now … Read the Full Story HERE

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