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January 24, 2014

NBCUniversal, out to keep WWE, mulls Hall of Fame

NBCUniversal, looking to retain rights to WWE’s popular “Smackdown” and “Raw” programs on its SyFy and USA channels, is thinking about creating a Hall of Fame for the entertainment company at its Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, The Post has learned.

While no concrete offer has been made, NBCU brass, as they put together a final pitch to present to Vince McMahon’s WWE, have talked about such a deal sweetener, sources said.

NBCU’s exclusive negotiating period ends Feb. 1, sources said.

Meanwhile, rivals like Viacom, whose Spike channel carries TNA, a rival pro wrestling circuit, and Turner Broadcasting, are logical partners.

Both “Smackdown” and “Raw” are highly rated and the current $140 million-a-year deal is likely to rise substantially.

NBCU’s rights include USA Network’s three-hour primetime block “Monday Night Raw,” and Syfy channel’s Friday night, “Smackdown.”

WWE shows are also available on Hulu Plus and on small broadcast network ION.

Executives at the Stamford, Conn.-based WWE are believed to be asking for at least double the current rate, arguing that its scripted wrestling events are akin to live sports programming...More?

source: nypost.com


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