WWF Critics are geeks, Boss says

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This article was posted in alt.pro-wrestling.wwf and originated from the Daily News Sunday Forum Page - by Vince McMahon. I assume the date to be sometime in early 1999 but I'm not sure.

The World Wrestling Federation is one of the most popular shows in the world, reaching a diverse population. There is nothing like our show on television. It draws upon so many other successful forms of entertainment. The continuing story lines are familiar to viewers of soap operas The action, adventure and racier elements draw their inspiration from the best that sports and Hollywood have to offer. Our superb performers, as though in a classic cartoon, get knocked down over and over, only to get up again, like Wile E. Coyote.

So why is the WWF held to a different standard?

We engage in controversy with a sense of fun and yes, naughtiness. That's why we ran a critically acclaimed spot in the Super Bowl that launched our "Get It?" campaign. The spot was entertainment with a captial "E." And not surprisingly, a guy with no sense of humor sprung into action. Bob Peters of Morality in the Media accused of us placing "one of the most vile commercials ever aired on network TV." When pressed, he admitted he'd never seen our spot. Oh yes, there's also a bishop in Scranton, PA, who banned the WWF from his small youth center (its OK, we'll move the show to the 10,000 seat Wilkes Barre Civic Center for our next event). A principal in Winnipeg, Canada, and an egghead professor, also objected to our program content.

Responsible Broadcasters

Our two-hour program "RAW IS WAR," airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m on USA network, and is apparently the lightning rod of this narrow-minded criticism. They don't seem to get, or choose to ignore, that more than 70 percent of this show's audience are 18 years of age or older. "RAW" is rated TV14 and is within the bounds of this television rating. We also have other shows rated PG and edited carefully for youth; those one-hour weekend morning shows, "Livewire" and "WWF SUperstars," air at 10.00 am on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively. Our show on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. on USA, "Heat" is rated PG LV (editors note : Language and Violence). We and other TV producers take these ratings seriously and edit accordingly. We take particular care because we know the World Wrestling Federation has grown and evolved into something that isn't "your father's Oldsmobile." It may, however, not be suitable during prime time for the youngest members of the house. We leave that for you to decide.

How are We Doing

The WWF is a company of 500 people. And while we sometimes court the "bad boys of TV" perception, the reality for a company celebrating nearly 30 years in business, is, of course, very different. Because our appeal crosses over several demographics, youth under 11 (15% percent of our TV business), 12-17 years old (another 15%), young adults and a little older (70%) we attempt to please as many people as we can. In fact, we take the temperature of the television audience by examining the ratings and by taking our cues from live audiences that pack the arenas where our shows are held. Roughly 3 million people will attend WWF events this year. That may be the "largest focus group" ever assembled. Beyond making us the No. 1 show on cable, this cross-section of Americana tells us how we're doing with their pocketbooks. These hard-working people buy our T-shirts (we're in the Top 5 of all our liscences in the U.S), music )our CD WWF The Music, Volume 3 went platinum this week), home video (WWF titles are currently 13 of the top 20 in 1998 with 4.6 million households buying our shows from their local cable provider). Folks don't buy what they don't want.

Lofty politicians, out of touch, moral crusaders who don't have a clue and egghead professors with flimsy studies treat the comman man with comtempt. They think out fans must have their viewing decisions made for them. We treat our audience with respect for its likes and dislikes and they know it. They also know we will do anything to entertain them. We have the hardest working and smartest superstars in the entertainment business. (And unlike Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson, these highly skilled men and women do their own stunts!). I am thorougly proud of the television programming we produce and it pleases me to no end to know how much enjoyment it gives so many people. We're not everyone's cup of tea, but we think our audience understands us.

If someone doesn't, they grab the remote control.

In other words, "They Get it!"

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