New York -- In a change from the typical barker-channel
pay-per-view-event preview show, USA Network will run a live, one-hour World Wrestling
Federation telecast prior to the wrestling outfit's Aug. 28 SummerSlam PPVevent.
WWF Sunday Night Heat, which will originate from
Madison Square Garden here, will show live matches and preview SummerSlam, said
Bonnie Werth, president and CEO of Team Services, which represents the WWF.
Unlike traditional preview shows, which many operators run
on barker channels or on unused cable channels, WWF Sunday Night Heat will reach 73
million households -- which the WWF hopes will boost interest and buy-rates for SummerSlam.
"The show represents something that's never been
done before, and it's a tremendous opportunity to drive people to PPV that
night," Werth said.
The show will actually serve as a vehicle for the WWF to
acclimate fans to its new PPV start time of 8 p.m. -- one hour later than its traditional
events -- Werth said. The move was made to acknowledge the organization's more mature
and adult themes.
"It represents a huge opportunity for us to not only
promote the event, but to let people know about the time change," Werth said.
"After starting for so many years at 7 p.m., the more exposure that we can get for
the time change, the better off the industry will be."
The show will serve as the last in a five-week WWF run on
Sunday nights as part of USA's "Sunday Night Heat" block of programming. WWF
Sunday Night Heat will be an extension of USA's Monday-night wrestling block of Monday
Night Raw and WWF War Zone,the network said.
"Consider this an early Christmas present to the
millions of loyal WWF wrestling fans," said Bonnie Hammer, vice president of original
production and programming for USA, in a prepared statement.