Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is getting his own TV series on HBO, according to a report by Deadine.com.
HBO has ordered a pilot for a half-hour “dramedy” produced by and starring the former WWE Champion. The project will “chronicles the lives of athletes – some retired some still active – living in Miami,” including Johnson.
The project will be co-produced by Mark Wahlberg, who co-starred with Dwayne in the new “Pain & Gain” film.
Rock recently hinted at the project in his “Rock Talk” Twitter Q&A: “After Hercules, I’ll partner up w/ Wahlberg – cool HBO project, then possibly FAST 7 – haven’t decided yet on that. #RockTalk.”
Filming is scheduled to begin this later this fall.
WWE CFO George Barrios spoke to 4-Traders.com today. Here are some highlights from the interview.
Where WWE’s Future Growth Will Come From: ”Well, over the last few years our core business has been performing well. We generate $75 million to $95 million of EBITDA. Those EBITDA margins have been 16% to 19% so the core business performed well. We have invested a lot in the last couple of years to take advantage some of that growth that we see. And the big strategic thesis for us is the value of content. There is more and more distribution alternatives available. Netflix is one everyone talks about. YouTube not being part of just social video but now real original content. So there’s more and more distribution alternatives and it’s on a global basis. As a content creator and owner, which makes us unique, we own 100% of the rights of our content. We license them out, we’ll license windows but we own it all. And that’s a unique position to be in. We think the rising distribution opportunity is driving up the valley of content. In fact, you look at what HBO does to produce Game of Thrones, right? You’re talking $10 million to $20 million an episode for 13 hours, right. So now you’re in the $150 million to $200 million. That’s incredible value. Raw and SmackDown are two franchised programs, average more viewers than any cable network average of prime time. So USA is a number one cable network in the US. It averages about 3 million viewers a week in prime time. Raw and SmackDown, our two top programs, averages more than that. We create a lot of value with the content. That’s going to be a big driver for growth.”
How WWE Will Monetize The Network & The Break-Even Point: ”Sure. So on the first part, continuing on with our core products, we’re going to keep them fully distributed. We think that’s a great platform for a network. And we think there’s a lot of value as those shows come up for renewal. Our four biggest contracts will be renewed over the next three years. We think that’s a great opportunity for us because of the value we deliver. Then to the network, we said we’re going to take our pay-per-views. We’re one of the preeminent pay-per-view providers today and our pay-per-views are priced anywhere between $49.95 and $59.95 today and we’re going to make that the core of a value proposition with a lot of other new content and put it on a premium network so that our fans can subscribe. We said the price will be somewhere between $12.99 or $14.99, to be determined as we go to market but we think that’s a real great opportunity. And to your question about breakeven, about a million subscribers because the pay-per-view buyers will migrate over to the network. That’s our belief. About a million subscribers, we breakeven at 2 million, it’s a really good business; at 3 million to 4 million, for us it’s transformative.”
Will WWE’s Pay-Per-View Business Eventually Go Away? ”We believe over time. We believe the value proposition will be much more powerful to subscribe to a network at $12.99 to $14.99, 24/7, you have the pay-per-views, a lot of great content, our library, a lot of retrospective programming that we’re doing that’s testing really, really well, we’re producing it right now so over time, I think the pay-per-view does go away.”
WWE sent the following Press Release:
WWE® SURPASSES 1 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS ON YOUTUBE, TOPPING ESPN AND HBO
STAMFORD, Conn., FEBRUARY 5, 2013 – WWE on YouTube hit 1 million subscribers today, surpassing popular YouTube channels such as ESPN, HBO, Comedy Central, Discovery Networks and Apple, furthering WWE’s position as one of the world’s most social brands. WWE has seen a 340 percent increase in subscribers over the past year.
WWE premiered almost 30 hours of original programming in 2012 with shows such as Backstage Fallout, Outside the Ring, WWE Inbox, WWE Download and Z! True Long Island Story. Since launching its official YouTube channel in 2010, WWE has not only created dozens of hours of original programming, but also hosted exclusive matches as well as live pre-shows for its pay-per-view broadcasts. With almost a half billion views, WWE has more views than Showtime, ABC News, ESPN and UFC. In addition, WWE fans watch more than 1.5 billion WWE clips a year across YouTube.
WWE continues to be a leader in digital media. As one of the top 15 most influential brands on social media, WWE has more than 139 million combined social media followers across 10 social media networks.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.
Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.
Credit – PWInsider
It was announced during the recent WWE conference call that the WWE Network would be a premium subscription channel, similar to HBO or Showtime. According to television industry sources as well as those in WWE, the expected price for the channel is $10 a month.
Just days before it came out that the WWE Network may end up with a HBO-style model, sources close to the Network revealed that the new direction might just be a Hulu channel instead.
The idea would be that the Network launches on Hulu and in a few years, if things turn around with the economy and cable industry, then maybe the Network could jump to basic cable like WWE originally planned. Unlike current plans, which would involve considerable outlay on WWE’s part, the Hulu idea would see Hulu paying WWE seed money for the channel – rumored to be tens of millions of dollars.
The Los Angles Times reports that WWE officials are leaning toward making the WWE Network a pay channel similar to HBO.
“The price tag WWE would seek for a premium channel would be north of $10.00 a month and perhaps as much as $15.00, which would be cheaper than buying all or even half of the pay-per-view events,” reads the article written by Joe Flint.
Vince McMahon’s dream to expand his sports-entertainment empire through a dedicated cable channel appears very much in doubt.
Faced with numerous outstanding hurdles, Wrestlezone.com reports Thursday that plans for the WWE Network have been indefinitely placed on hold. Although WWE’s television shows draw strong ratings, the organization has yet to strike a single deal with a cable or satellite-television provider to carry the channel one year after officially announcing its formation. And while WWE has considered making the network a pay-subscription channel, similar to HBO or Showtime, internal studies have shown less than 100,000 homes would be willing to pay a monthly fee.
WWE was expected to hire approximately 200 employees, including a general manager to run the channel. According to sources close to the head of its Human resources department and Vice President of programming, the company has issued a hiring freeze. It is said that any recent hires are in jeopardy of being terminated.
WWE initially timed the launch of the network for April 1, 2012 to coincide with its pay-per-view extravaganza, WrestleMania. The company even had a clock counting down to the April launch date on its site, which eventually disappeared. The launch was reportedly pushed to November 2012, then February 2013. Now, with the infrastructure set up as it is, the network will be virtually impossible to get off the ground within the next year.
Taryn Terrell, who appeared as Tiffany for WWE from 2008 to 2010, has a brief spot in the new Will Ferrell movie The Campaign as a model. She is depicted nude in a scene, as her breasts are digitized.
Terrell has tried her hand at acting since parting ways with WWE as she also appears in the HBO series Treme and has a role in the upcoming Aztec Warrior film. She largely works as a stunt performer as she has shot scenes for multiple films that will be released next year including The End of the World (starring Jonah Hill), Empire State (starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Now You See Me.
The Miz also appears in The Campaign, albeit as a background extra. He shot another scene where he appeared as his WWE character and introduced Ferrell’s character, Cam Brady, at a campaign rally. Though the scene was cut during post-production, he is listed during the credits.
Word is that DirecTV has no interest in carrying the WWE Network, which would knock about 30% of its potential revenue off. There’s been talk that very few cable carriers are committing to paying a per subscriber rate for WWE’s Network, which is what the company was counting on for profitability. The alternative is to be like HBO or Showtime and charge a subscription fee directly to consumers.
There’s still no official word on when the Network will launch but they cut a new commercial for it this past week that should begin airing soon.
Image via Wikipedia
HBO boxing announcer Larry Merchant said Monday that Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Victor Ortiz on Saturday in Las Vegas was the result of a “legal sucker-punch.”
Merchant, a guest on the Mason & Ireland Show on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, became part of the story line Saturday because of a verbal confrontation with Mayweather during a live televised interview in the ring immediately after the fight.
Merchant was asked what he thought set off Mayweather.
“I’m in a long line of media people that he feels have not given him as much credit as he gives himself,” Merchant said. “The fans saw what they saw: A sucker-punch ending a fight. Now, was Mayweather within his rights to throw it? Absolutely. Should he have? In my opinion, no. It was a legal blow, but that’s not the way great champions do it. And the kid, Ortiz, has blame on him as well.
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