Wednesday, February 24, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Senate Candidate Linda McMahon’s WWE Quietly Shifts Programming Back to TV-14

CLARIFICATION: See “WWE Cites ‘Miscommunication,’ Says TV-14 Listing Was a Mistake,”


As former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon launched her campaign for the Senate seat in Connecticut last year, WWE re-rated its programming from TV-14 (“may be unsuitable for children under 14 years of age”) to TV-PG (“parental guidance suggested”).

Many charged WWE with softening its content for the convenience of the McMahon campaign. At the most vociferous end of this line of argument, the change could even be construed as an illegal “in kind” corporation campaign contribution.

Now look at what happened last night on WWE’s first edition of NXT – a rebranding of the Tuesday night wrestling show, formerly called ECW, on the Syfy cable channel. With no announcement of its impact on demographics or advertiser profiles, WWE has listed NXT back at TV-14.

This comes, of course, following a season of releases of YouTube videos, embarrassing or otherwise, which highlight some of WWE’s most historically raunchy content. And it gives Linda McMahon critics, inside and outside the campaign, another juicy target.

I guess we’ll have to wait for the next editions of Raw and SmackDown to find out if the change will apply across the board or only to NXT. I’d ask WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt, but he might start calling me names again.

Irv Muchnick

No comments: