Some Defend TV Writing (sort of)

Jimmy Jacobs was speaking on the low viewership for Raw and how hard it is to write a wrestling TV show.
Seth Rollins chimed in that writing 5 hours of Live TV is a near miracle.
Matt Jackson said writing 15 minutes a week was hard.
(Paraphrasing here)

MJ from NJ says -
GTFO with that nonsense. WWE is going to get paid over $2mil an hour (something like 10+mil a week) starting October 2019. I have ZERO sympathy for writers and the company that milks their fans for every last ounce of free time. If WWE wants their product on TV that much, and is getting PAID for it, then write a good F’n show. Or just show wrestling and don’t try to run stupid story lines about GMs and temporary GMs and Besties-Turned-Enemies-Turned-Lovers-Turned-Enemies-Turned-Besties OR my personal favorite, when the audience that puts up with this crap is told they are diseased and smell so a great heel wears a gas mask. There is ZERO excuse for that crap. It’s insulting for any members of that company or wrestling community to defend it. You are asking for so many hours of my time as a fan that I don’t want to hear how hard it is. If it is so hard, cut programming, but don’t ask for fans to endure crap and sympathize with the writers room. Because the reality is, nobody wants to hear how hard it is, they rather stop watching (which is happening). Bullshit claims. Rant over #

What say you?


I find it funny that the guy that was chosen to basically trash the company on Raw(Rollins), is the one that is defending them on Twitter. Obviously I know he isnt going to trash them on Twitter, but I’d rather he say nothing at all about it. There are plenty of other guys on the roster who can come to the companies defense.


He’s also one of the focused pushes guys. You don’t see Mojo Rowley or Tyler Breeze defending anything.

Strange that those guys could have stayed in NXT and been jobbers to the new stars, but they got called up. Wasted. And won’t get cut because they are enough of a name to be something on the Indies.

Cody’s success has likely ruined an entire generation of future endeavored Indy stars :joy:


I think the reason it is hard for them is because they paint themselves into a corner with all of the rules, emphasis on scripted promos and Vince’s gatekeeping. If the man has to approve everything, then how many story lines is he squashing?

Scripting is to make sure the show remains on time according to WWE, but when you let talent improvise, their promos can often create story lines or move a program in a direction no one expected. They want control, and are reluctant to give it up a bit (conditionally) to the talent to breed innovation. They don’t get that a major reason NJPW, ROH, and the business at large is growing is that they don’t hamstring their talent they let them be involved with their stories and I am not sure WWE does that enough.

They are making huge amounts of cash, they can hire more writers create backup stories that are modular any superstar can be plugged into, that can be called upon in the event someone is injured or the fans are tired of the angle. WWE won’t do that, they see rivals gaining ground with a Pro-Wrestling stance even NXT is more Pro-Wrestling than Sports Entertainment and it is praised by most fans.

They need to find a balance, I am not sure what the point was of sending Rollins out to do that. Is it WWE’s way of saying “We know we haven’t done well, we are working on it” or is it Vince’s way of thumbing his nose at the fans?


First of all, i just want to get this off my chest before i continue to start writing about this subject. To all that complain about the writing of the shows, please stop complaining already, if you were in the position they are in, you wouldn’t even last a hour doing their job. That’s how hard it is to write a live show every single week, so imagine how hard it is to write 2 live shows every week plus when you have a Network special, they have to write that as well so that’s between 5 and almost 10 hour of live tv they have to write every week. It’s not like they have the time or the mean to just rewrite everything until the show is entertaining. That’s a stressful job and i admire them for doing no matter how crappy some of the shows have been. They do the best they can under the circumstance.

Now, that i got that off my chest, i get why the whole is stressful, i feel that while some of the top talent are able to help them out and have input on what they will say and do, i also feel like it shouldn’t be as micro manage as it is right now, they been using the same way of doing tv for 20 years now and it’s getting stale at this point, i would say that it’s would be time to let wrestlers improvise a little more but again, they don’t teach them that in NXT and the system is as micro manage as the main roster is so that’s not going to be a solution. Either way, WWE really need to give those writers some help so that they don’t have to write every single thing for both raw and smackdown every single week. Maybe, have less promo’s and putting more matches on the show would help tell a better story without having to rely so much on scripted promo’s every week. I don’t know but i do thing it’s time to change the format in a way and the main problem is the only way it will change is if the company isn’t run by a Mcmahon or somebody related to them.

I think that writers are good for actors, not for wrestlers. I very much prefer genuine reactions, heartfelt promos. I think they should be talking more like sports people that are never scripted.

Fans have every right to complain, if the company wants them to invest all this time and its pure shit they are putting out. If a network TV show is this bad and the ratings drop week after week, that show 98% of the time, doesnt get the luxury of moving to a new network or its actors making more per episode or whatever. The show gets cancelled.

Just because they have big TV contracts and maybe the networks are the ones that want 3 hours, that doesnt give them the right to put out a garbage product. If anything, they should be earning the money they are making. To say that the writers have such a hard job and they have so much to do and we shouldnt get on their case, that is a bullshit, WWE fanboy, ass kissing statement if I’ve ever seen one.

Thats like saying if someone goes to work a job and has to work 60-80 hours a week to make a living, they should be able to do a shitty job, because they work a lot and they’re tired. You think the company they work for is going to be cool with that?

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Who’s choice is it to have that much TV to write for?
My take wasn’t that it’s easy. It’s that you are being paid an absurd amount of money to produce a show. That’s a job. They have stakeholders. Don’t ask the stakeholders to be understanding when you are taking their money and time.

On a business level, how does Fox and USA justify paying over 2 million an hour to lose viewers? Don’t take the money if the volume is too much. That’s corporate greed and they then to turn around and tell fans that it’s hard to write that much…well it’s hard to watch that much.

And for anyone says “just don’t watch” - we’ll thats what’s happening. And it’s a zero sum game where ultimately the product and viewership doesn’t justify the money, which is why they are doing so much TV in the first place. Find me one fan clamoring for additional hours if WWE content in its current iteration?

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Thank you. This was in the spot. The WWE is being paid to do something well and keep an audience.


I think the money aspect isn’t really about the show itself and the content but more about the brand and how much exposure it gets. Let’s face it, USA sign them to a tremendous amount of money even if they knew that the content wasn’t that great because even if the ratings are slipping, they still produce the highest 3 hour of ratings on cable tv every week. Smackdown got sign by fox for the same reason, they didn’t sign them for the content but more from the exposure the brand bring with them.

The thing is, wwe as become a bigger then the content the produce. They could produce crap every week and it wouldn’t matter because they would still fill arena for the raw tv tapings and will get the same in or around the same type of ratings on a regular bases, sometimes it will be lower, sometimes will be higher but you will always get in or around the same number of people watching every week, so for network, they couldn’t care less about the content of the shows since that’s not the most important thing for network execs.

Respect the point about content and brand association. It does get those networks exposure and viewership they otherwise may not get. But let’s chat if SD is drawing 1.0 on Friday nights for Fox.

There will come a time when wwe isn’t the highest rated cable show on Monday. It’s inevitavle by virtue of shifting viewing patterns and delivery methods. And for that, they shoot themselves inthe foot and expedite that fact with not caring about week to week booking. Instead of watching Raw for 3 hours on USA, I watch 3 segments on Hulu and listen to a podcast…I’m not alone in that. The numbers back it up

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I concur. I dunno why Jacobs/Seth even had to wade in to this - they can’t trash the company as they wanna keep on their good side (fair enough) but they can’t defend them without looking like idiots. So just stay out of it.
Also, three hour raws are not a new thing - this has been going on for 6 years, figure it out already.

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Ratings decline isn’t a new thing either.

Which brings it back to @psykohurricane point. How strong is the brand and the value of affiliation with the brand that the decline over time hasn’t hurt them in the TV dollars department. I use that as an argument for when people tell me the stock is going to be hurt by ratings…for all the social media stat porn they throw at us and investors, it shows the strength of the brand which is backed up by the money tv networks have spent. Maybe viewers aren’t tuning in week to week but the prospect of a big rating or pop in a rating is always there and when it does happen - like around Manja season - it’s worth it.

The nature of ratings / tv / business for the company now is at an all time high in fascination. At least for me who enjoys the business side of wrestling as much as anything.

It’s no longer “easy” to sell out a TV taping and house shows are on the verge of being money losers. Interest in WWE is way down and that’s a direct result of garbage television and over saturation.

Interest way Dow and business way up. Only in the wrestling world can those two things be true at the same time. classic

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I won’t refute that writing a three-hour live show every week is hard. But I also think that WWE makes it harder than it has to be. Even the writers of "Breaking Bad’ didn’t have to write 5+ minute monologues for the same characters every week. And, if they did, they would have had talented, professional actors playing those characters, not pro wrestlers.

As for the other part, and as I have said several times before, we aren’t obligated to give a shit about any of this. Just like we don’t have to give a shit about TV deals and contracts and ratings and stock prices. We should at least have a cursory understanding that these things matter before ranting about “why things are the way they are,” but that’s about it. I want to watch a good wrestling show, and if the wrestling show isn’t good and I stop watching, then all of the “behind the curtain” things that contributed to that decision are irrelevant.

And this all isn’t to say that WWE cares about me and needs to cater to me specifically, but it seems that the tipping point may have been reached as far as the collective audience starting to tune out more than ever before.

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Go tell that to the mcmahon’s who really seem to not understand that right now. Vince is too busy with his new pet project, the xfl, too even see that his main product is hurting and HHH & Stephanie are too busy dealing with the expansion to realize that as well.

The thing is, they just got this new tv deal with the fact that interest is down. They don’t really see the fact that interest is down and live event might be money loser being a big deal for them because NXT as been a money loser for them for years and they stayed the course anyway. So if they is interest from advertiser and other in the business world, then they will stay the course with what they have.

Another thing, the overall ratings of a program doesn’t really matter anymore, it’s all about the 18 to 49 demo now. Right now on FOX, the average ratings in that demo is around a 1.0 and they pay a lot more for that programming that they will do for smackdown, so if smackdown can maintain a 1.0 in that demo over the course of the contract, fox will be super happy with it because they got cheap programming that they can put on Friday night and they get some reward out of it.

So, o.k the interest is down yet again in this time of the year , which is normal for WWE in December, it’s kinda like they know nobody is watching they’re programming during the holiday season and the writing staff take a break until the mania season start and it’s all system’s go for the next three months.

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Something that I don’t know (but am curious about) is, what is the caliber of the writers WWE has? I hear about how they get writers from different genres and fields, but how many of them have actually had real mainstream success with a high caliber program before coming to WWE? I feel like part of the problem might be that WWE are getting writers who write B movies, online shows, failed TV shows, etc. to write 5 hours of new programming each week. Keeping in mind there are former wrestlers in the mix who aren’t writers who are helping write TV (although in many ways this I suppose would be a help because of their knowledge of wrestling, but could also hinder because they are not writers).

Based on what I hear on the Prichard Show and from interviews with former writers, writing the show is a very demanding job. When you factor into the fact that wrestlers or Vince can shoot down storylines and injuries throwing months of plans out the window, I could see that adding a lot of difficulty. Also, the fact that there is so much TV to write now has to be difficult. That isn’t to say what WWE is putting out there is great. It’s absolute boring television for the most part, but I don’t think the writers have it that easy either. I would never want to have their job.

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