ESPN, Fox Have New Games to Play as NFL Season Opens

When “Monday Night Football” debuts on ESPN on this evening, fans may do a double-take after they see what executives at the network refer to as “The Boogermobile.” That’s an elevated chair set up on the line of scrimmage and pulled back and forth alon…

When “Monday Night Football” debuts on ESPN on this evening, fans may do a double-take after they see what executives at the network refer to as “The Boogermobile.” That’s an elevated chair set up on the line of scrimmage and pulled back and forth along the sidelines by a cart. Booger McFarland, the former NFL […]

Comcast And Fox Settle Big Ten Network Carriage Dispute As College Football Season Nears Kickoff

Comcast and the Fox Networks Group have settled a high-profile carriage dispute over the Big Ten Network ahead of the September 1 end of the current contract and on the eve of college football season.
Under the new deal, Comcast will continue carrying …

Comcast and the Fox Networks Group have settled a high-profile carriage dispute over the Big Ten Network ahead of the September 1 end of the current contract and on the eve of college football season. Under the new deal, Comcast will continue carrying the network and the companies also reached an agreement for Comcast to continue carrying all of the Big Ten games on FS1. Earlier this summer, Fox threw a major grenade over the wall during the conference’s annual media day…

How Fox Can Wrestle WWE ‘Raw’ Rights From USA Network

A Fox bid for WWE television rights could be the biggest TV sports agreement since the network poached the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” OK, so that was only a few weeks ago, but Fox Sports is now poised to steal away TV ratings giants “Raw” and “SmackDown Live” from their longtime home at the the USA Network — and that’s a big deal.

While any pitch is still in the early stages, an agreement would likely result in WWE flagship show “Raw” airing Mondays on Fox’s broadcast network and its Tuesday sister series “SmackDown Live” staying on cable with a move to FS1, a person with knowledge of the preliminary conversations tells TheWrap.

Why put them on different channels? Well, the relatively young FS1 found out pretty early on that you can beef up studio shows all you want, but nothing beats live sports for bringing eyeballs and awareness to a growing brand. (Sorry, Skip Bayless.)

Also Read: WWE’s Kane, The Undertaker Reunite at ‘Glenn Jacobs for Mayor’ Campaign Stop (Photos)

Whichever Fox channel they’d call home, the shows would be a great get for what’s left of 21st Century if, as expected, Disney buys the company. (You know, unless Comcast swoops in to snag Fox first.)

With Fox Sports likely losing its extremely pricey UFC rights next year, what better substitute for young male viewers than WWE? Though Vince McMahon’s pro-wrestling promotion costs a bit more than Dana White’s mixed martial arts one does right now, the UFC license fee is about to double — or more. Compare their Nielsen TV ratings side by side, and WWE starts to look like a bargain.

With the NFL and WWEFox Sports president Eric Shanks might need to start wearing a championship belt around the office.

Also Read: Former WWE Diva Sunny Arrested on ‘Fugitive From Justice’ Charges

But he’s a tag-team act. Right-hand man Larry Jones is the Fox Sports deal-maker — the numbers guy to Shanks’ production experience. And the pair have plenty of support in their stable.

Shanks was spotted ringside Tuesday night at Los Angeles’ Staples Center scouting WWE “SmackDown Live” alongside Fox Sports talent producer Jacob Ullman and TV/radio personality Colin Cowherd.

While Ullman is a legit fan (and close friend of WWE talent relations executive Jim Ross, which certainly won’t hurt communication), Cowherd began his week as a non-believer. The critic of pro wrestling made a bit of what those in the wrestling business call a “face turn” this week, posting smiling photos with WWE Superstars and generally endorsing the product.

Also Read: WWE to Announce ‘WrestleMania’ Return to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium in 2019

Two other heavyweights loom over Shanks and his team — and they seem to be extra-interested in Fox Sports these days.

Peter Rice, head of 21st Century Fox, has been trying to get more involved on the sports side, we’re told, as he weighs whether to head to Disney post-merger or remain at Fox.

Lachlan Murdoch, executive co-chairman of the company, also seems to have a sudden interest in sports. He was very involved in the landmark “Thursday Night Football” deal, which is not something that would typically get his full attention.

It’s a smart move by a pair of smart guys, as what will remain of Fox after the Disney merger will be sports, news and broadcast television. The Murdochs are dominating cable news — it’s time to catch up on sports.

Also Read: ‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett Struts Into WWE Hall of Fame: Watch Him Nail Gary Coleman With a Guitar (Video)

Money-aside, there’s a bit of a hangup here unique to Fox. “Raw” is a three-hour show and Fox’s broadcast primetime is only from 8 to 10 p.m. We’re told it is too early to say whether Fox would add the 10 o’clock hour to accommodate WWE. Alternatively, WWE boss Vince McMahon could let “Raw” go back to 120 minutes. (“SmackDown Live” could get as much time on FS1 as it wants.)

Enter Fox Networks Distribution President Mike Biard. Biard is in tight with Fox’s affiliates, who will have to buy into “Raw” programming. If WWE demands that a third hour be carried nationwide, Biard needs to get his affiliates on board. Because the WWE could body-slam the local news shows that currently own the Monday-at-10 p.m. slot.

Fox and WWE both declined to comment on this story when reached by TheWrap.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Andre the Giant’ Trailer: Watch WWE Icon Drink, Fight and Change Wrestling Forever (Video)

WWE’s Enzo Amore ‘Fully and Unequivocally Denies’ Rape Accusation

WWE’s ‘Raw 25’ Pins Down Top ‘Raw’ TV Rating in Nearly 3 Years

A Fox bid for WWE television rights could be the biggest TV sports agreement since the network poached the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” OK, so that was only a few weeks ago, but Fox Sports is now poised to steal away TV ratings giants “Raw” and “SmackDown Live” from their longtime home at the the USA Network — and that’s a big deal.

While any pitch is still in the early stages, an agreement would likely result in WWE flagship show “Raw” airing Mondays on Fox’s broadcast network and its Tuesday sister series “SmackDown Live” staying on cable with a move to FS1, a person with knowledge of the preliminary conversations tells TheWrap.

Why put them on different channels? Well, the relatively young FS1 found out pretty early on that you can beef up studio shows all you want, but nothing beats live sports for bringing eyeballs and awareness to a growing brand. (Sorry, Skip Bayless.)

Whichever Fox channel they’d call home, the shows would be a great get for what’s left of 21st Century if, as expected, Disney buys the company. (You know, unless Comcast swoops in to snag Fox first.)

With Fox Sports likely losing its extremely pricey UFC rights next year, what better substitute for young male viewers than WWE? Though Vince McMahon’s pro-wrestling promotion costs a bit more than Dana White’s mixed martial arts one does right now, the UFC license fee is about to double — or more. Compare their Nielsen TV ratings side by side, and WWE starts to look like a bargain.

With the NFL and WWEFox Sports president Eric Shanks might need to start wearing a championship belt around the office.

But he’s a tag-team act. Right-hand man Larry Jones is the Fox Sports deal-maker — the numbers guy to Shanks’ production experience. And the pair have plenty of support in their stable.

Shanks was spotted ringside Tuesday night at Los Angeles’ Staples Center scouting WWE “SmackDown Live” alongside Fox Sports talent producer Jacob Ullman and TV/radio personality Colin Cowherd.

While Ullman is a legit fan (and close friend of WWE talent relations executive Jim Ross, which certainly won’t hurt communication), Cowherd began his week as a non-believer. The critic of pro wrestling made a bit of what those in the wrestling business call a “face turn” this week, posting smiling photos with WWE Superstars and generally endorsing the product.

Two other heavyweights loom over Shanks and his team — and they seem to be extra-interested in Fox Sports these days.

Peter Rice, head of 21st Century Fox, has been trying to get more involved on the sports side, we’re told, as he weighs whether to head to Disney post-merger or remain at Fox.

Lachlan Murdoch, executive co-chairman of the company, also seems to have a sudden interest in sports. He was very involved in the landmark “Thursday Night Football” deal, which is not something that would typically get his full attention.

It’s a smart move by a pair of smart guys, as what will remain of Fox after the Disney merger will be sports, news and broadcast television. The Murdochs are dominating cable news — it’s time to catch up on sports.

Money-aside, there’s a bit of a hangup here unique to Fox. “Raw” is a three-hour show and Fox’s broadcast primetime is only from 8 to 10 p.m. We’re told it is too early to say whether Fox would add the 10 o’clock hour to accommodate WWE. Alternatively, WWE boss Vince McMahon could let “Raw” go back to 120 minutes. (“SmackDown Live” could get as much time on FS1 as it wants.)

Enter Fox Networks Distribution President Mike Biard. Biard is in tight with Fox’s affiliates, who will have to buy into “Raw” programming. If WWE demands that a third hour be carried nationwide, Biard needs to get his affiliates on board. Because the WWE could body-slam the local news shows that currently own the Monday-at-10 p.m. slot.

Fox and WWE both declined to comment on this story when reached by TheWrap.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Andre the Giant' Trailer: Watch WWE Icon Drink, Fight and Change Wrestling Forever (Video)

WWE's Enzo Amore 'Fully and Unequivocally Denies' Rape Accusation

WWE's 'Raw 25' Pins Down Top 'Raw' TV Rating in Nearly 3 Years

Fox Sports Adds National Network President Role To Big Ten Network Chief Mark Silverman’s Duties

Mark Silverman, a veteran media exec who has been serving as president of the Big Ten Network, a joint venture between Fox Sports and the Big Ten Conference, is joining Fox Sports as president of national networks.
Effective on Tuesday, Silverman will oversee all programming, production, marketing, and digital for Fox, FS1 and FS2 live events and studio shows. He also will retain his current responsibilities at BTN.
“Mark is an excellent, creative executive who has been…

Mark Silverman, a veteran media exec who has been serving as president of the Big Ten Network, a joint venture between Fox Sports and the Big Ten Conference, is joining Fox Sports as president of national networks. Effective on Tuesday, Silverman will oversee all programming, production, marketing, and digital for Fox, FS1 and FS2 live events and studio shows. He also will retain his current responsibilities at BTN. "Mark is an excellent, creative executive who has been…