Vince McMahon needs to calm down.
It's that simple. He thinks his SmackDown brand is on the brink of extinction, but he hasn't thought it all out yet. Since the switch from the CW Network he has worked to remind everyone backstage that the ratings just aren't the same, but he needs to see the difference between the two networks.
The CW Network was a network available to nearly 100 percent of the country on broadcast television. MyNetworkTV provided much less exposure, and still does, but let's look a couple of months to the future.
On June 12, 2009, all channels that haven't shut down analog operations must do so. What this means is that all of the CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX affiliates will be able to add what are called 'digital subchannels'. And this will allow MyNetworkTV to be broadcast for free in many areas.
For example, I don't have cable. But last October WISC-TV, the local CBS affiliate here in Madison, started voluntarily broadcasting a digital system. And now, on digital channel 3.2, I am able to watch MyNetworkTV free of charge, and so were the satellite subscribers that could not tune in before.
Many of the MyNetwork affiliates will switch to this system if they haven't already, which means that slowly, but surely, the exposure of MyNetworkTV will grow. Therefore, the exposure of WWE SmackDown will do the same.
The recent announcement that brought about the speculation of future bankruptcy to MyNetworkTV was that it would cease the development of new shows and become a syndicated programming channel, with the exception of SmackDown.
However, much to the surprise of the television experts, advertisers have expressed excitement in the network's decision, and will apparently keep their place in the network's commercial industry.
And the recent internal scare was the 1.9 rating the show has drawn over the past month. But the competition has been strong against the show, mainly with the NCAA College Basketball tournament as the chief competitor.
When you have a show that is watched mostly by men and teens, you will occasionally get another sporting event that will take viewers away. The same may happen this October when baseball enters the October hunt.
But Vince needs to hang on and not do anything drastic during this time. Don't rob the SmackDown roster. Take a couple stars, but keep The Undertaker, keep Jeff Hardy, keep Edge if at all possible, or at least bring in a top heel to take his place.
Don't make SmackDown a development show, because that definitely won't help out with ratings, and ECW is a chief example of that.
So in short, if Vince just hangs on to the idea that WWE SmackDown is worth saving, maybe, just maybe, he will reap the rewards later on.
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