World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. announced late Friday that it
purchased the World Championship Wrestling brand from Turner Broadcasting System
The sale, which will merge the rival wrestling outfits, came after Fusient
Media Ventures pulled out of a deal to buy WCW for $75 million.
Turner Network Television will televise its final Monday Night Nitro
program this Monday (March 26). That same night, some WCW wrestlers may appear
on WWF Raw Is War on TNN: The National Network, WWFE said.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
It's still not clear if any of the big-name wrestlers that WCW has under
contract, including Hulk Hogan and Rick Flair, are part of the deal.
In the WWFE press release announcing the deal, the company said the binding
agreement gives it global rights to the WCW brand, tape library and other
intellectual-property rights. It made no mention of the fate of the 150 WCW
The deal gives WWFE a monopoly on national televised wrestling in the United
States. Extreme Championship Wrestling, which ran on TNN when it was still
called The Nashville Network, was dropped from the network after it won WWF
rights last fall.
WWFE announced the deal in a one-page press release, which included no
comment from officials at WCW, TBS Inc. or its parent, AOL Time Warner Inc.
'Clearly, [WCW] doesn't fit in the direction of our networks. It was the
perfect time for TNT and TBS [Superstation] to go in this direction and for WCW
to go over in that direction,' TBS Inc. spokesman Jim Weiss said Friday
After Turner Networks announced last week that it would cancel WCW
programming on TNT and TBS, company executives said WCW didn't fit into the
high-end demographic they are now targeting.
Some executives close to WCW have called that a bogus excuse, noting that
TNT's stable of high-end programming includes Ripley's Believe it or Not!
and a recent 12-hour Dirty Dancing marathon.
The sources noted that if WCW was still posting 5.0 Nielsen Media Research
ratings -- as it did before WWFE pulled away in the ratings war in the past two
years - TBS Inc. wouldn't have dropped the programming.