True Story: Joe Burgett Gets In Trouble With Spike TV Regarding TNA Comments

Joe Burgett @JoEburGett_WESenior Writer IIIJanuary 29, 2010

Late last night, about 11 PM, I wrote an article about how TNA Wrestling was going to be moving to Monday nights permanently. Some of you may have seen it by now. The article put into question Spike TV and TNA for tying to go against the WWE's flagship brand, WWE RAW .

I, for one, thought my article was completely fine, and that there were no really big errors in it. However, according to Spike TV, I was dead wrong. I woke up this morning and did my usual weekday ritual: eat breakfast, get ready for school, then check my e-mails and respond to comments before I have to leave.

While checking my e-mails, I saw a ton of comments from B/R, which I was happy to see., because I love to hear feedback from the B/R faithful. But one e-mail caught my eye above all the e-mails from B/R. It was from MTV.

For those of you who are unaware, MTV owns Spike TV. However, Viacom owns MTV which means it also owns Spike TV. In any case, this e-mail was labeled "Factual Errors". Seeing this, I thought I made a terrible mistake. But the e-mail didn't seem all that bad.

The e-mail was from MTV's Vice President of Communications, David Schwarz.
He had this to say to me:

"Joe—I enjoy the passion in your writing—but your story on TNA is filled with factual errors…give me a call some time and I can give you a more educated look at the history of Spike TV and TNN."

I actually saw this and thought, ok, if I messed up I need to change a few things around. I would hate to have an entire network angry at me (ok, no I wouldn't, as I couldn't care less, but I thought it was pretty cool to see Spike TV taking notice).

Needless to say, I didn't call Mr. Schwarz, but I did e-mail him back. I said back to him:

"Factual Errors? Ok then, tell me what I said that was wrong so I can fix it."

He then copy/pasted my article, and made little comments in bold saying what was wrong in it. I'll spare you from reading the entire article from last night once again, I'll just highlight some of what he said was not accurate, then I'll comment on it.

Breaking News: TNA Moving to Monday Nights Permanently

(not true at all)
This was the first thing I saw in the e-mail back to me. This showed me one of two things: Either TNA is not moving to Monday nights permanently, as the highly credible Wrestling Observer broke, or he was saying my article had many points that were not true.
The one thing that must not be true, according to the VP, is that TNA has decided to move to Monday nights. Every comment I had about TNA moving there had the word "nope" written beside it.
When I said that TNA could not compete with USA's WWE RAW , he said this:
"we never claimed we could currently compete with WWE in ratings"

This is true, Spike TV never said out loud that they could compete with any show in ratings, much less WWE. But keep in mind that this is not what I said. I said that they need to get it out of their heads that they can compete with USA. I put into question why that they would move TNA iMPACT to Monday. So, if they didn't think they could compete with the WWE in any way, why would they move the show to Monday?

When I mentioned that back in the '90s that cable wasn't as advanced as it is today, he had this to say:

"cable wasn't advanced? huh?"

I want to know where you got that communications degree, my man, because that school seriously needs to realize who they put out in the world. It's 2010, last time I checked, and the '90s were over a decade ago. Today, we have probably 50 to 100 new channels (maybe more), satellite is bought far more than cable, and we have DVR/TiVO.

Tell me that in 2010 we are not far more advanced than in, say, 1996.

When I mentioned that TNN made a bonehead move by becoming Spike TV and formatting it's channels around men, I also mentioned that they lost half of their viewers doing so, because that half was women. He corrected me here:

"not true at all - it was 60-40 men"

Sorry for getting that one wrong, and if you check the TNA article, you'll see that I changed this mistake now. However, killing off 40 percent of an audience is still pretty stupid. He also claimed no markets dropped Spike TV when they made this move, but I care to differ, as it was said when the move was made that many markets dropped you.

When I said that USA Network was in far more homes than Spike TV, he corrected me once again:

"no - we are in about the same 99 million"

Actually, this is not true, as USA Network is in almost two complete continents, where Spike is in only in North America's USA and Canada.

Outside of the States, USA is in both Canada and in South America. It would be impossible that Spike would be in the same number of homes if you have another entire continent watching USA (South America).

USA Network is called Universal Network in South America, I believe.

Now, I'm not saying that some of Spike's shows are not in other countries, as I know for a fact that TNA alone is. I'm talking strict network, not which shows are where, here.

When I mentioned that the WWE left Spike TV knowing that the viewership was going down and that Spike TV was failing, he had this to say:

"we backed away from WWE - look it up"

Really now? You backed away from your top show? And this is the WWE we are talking about here. You are formatting your entire network around men, yet you get rid of the WWE? Sure, that's smart.

No, it was the fact that the WWE was smart enough not to renew it's deal with Spike TV and instead go to an NBC Universal power in USA Network. I've heard two different stories on this now, as the WWE claimed what I said in my article, yet Mr. VP here claims different.

I feel now that it must have been mutual, that the WWE was the hot girl that wanted the break up, and the man (Spike) was all macho and said, "Sure go ahead, I don't need you." Yet once she left, he went home and cried, and wondered why he let the best thing he ever had go.

When I mentioned that TNA, while it has been pretty good, cannot beat the WWE in ratings ever, that TNA will never hit in the threes on average every week, as it is a victim of the channel it is on, he had this to say:

"The UFC on Spike has achieved higher ratings, my good man"

Actually, UFC gets that most of the time in PPVs, but rarely if ever gets over threes for it's shows. The highest it has ever had was 4.7 million viewers which translated to a 3.1 in ratings, this was for UFC 75 (which I believe was a PPV, not on Spike until later) in 2007, which set a MMA ratings record in North America, but didn't beat the WWE RAW 's normal average.

The normal average for UFC on Spike TV is mainly in the twos, possibly under, depending on who is fighting on a given night.

So once again, the reason UFC and TNA are not doing as well as they should be, is because of the channel they are on.

One main reason these two companies are as well known as they are is because of the Internet, which doesn't add to TV ratings, obviously.

He made a few other comments, but these were the big ones. You decide: Was I right to question Spike TV?

Also, keep in mind there has not been a formal announcement that TNA is moving to Monday Nights yet, as I believe the move is supposed to happen some time in March. If they do move there, like the Observer claims they will, then an announcement should happen within the next few weeks.

I'm sure Mr. VP of Communications wanted to make sure it stayed quiet, but the darn wrestling journalists ruined it. Either that, or this man is one of the most uninformed VPs on the planet.

But in any case, it was fun, Spike TV. Maybe we could do this again, the next time I write an article on TNA Wrestling.


"Note to editor, don't change the bold prints, as they are exact copies from the e-mail I was sent"



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