Eric Bischoff On Wanting WCW To Go ‘Dark’ For An Extended Time Before Re-Launching It On PPV
Eric Bischoff had big plans to resuscitate WCW in 2001 and that included having Monday Nitro go “dark” for a good amount of time. On a recent episode of 83 Weeks, Bischoff reveals his planned strategy to Conrad Thompson after the Podfather asks him if the plan was to not only go off-air for a time, but to re-launch WCW on PPV s “The Big Bang” in Las Vegas.
“Yes, yes and yes,” Bischoff said to Conrad’s questions. “Yes, I wanted to go dark. I petitioned for the longer we can stay dark, the better but there was some realities there. There was some cashflow realities that won the argument.”
“My hope was by going dark ‘the absence makes the heart grow fonder’ factor would have started to kick in, to a degree. In my opinion if we would have stayed dark until the fall it would have been even better, but that wasn’t practical from a cashflow perspective and there were issues with TNT and programming and things like that. TNT was willing to go for awhile, but they couldn’t go for too long without consistent programming that would get consistent numbers in that spot. So the compromise was May. Yes, I wanted to do it on PPV and my reason for it is because we would have had sufficient promotional time on the TNT network promoting that PPV. So the awareness, the buzz, the energy, the anticipation that we would have been able to build promoting that PPV, not only on television but within the cable systems.”
Back then, Bischoff notes that the bulk of the advertising came from the cable promotion themselves and wanted to use that to his advantage in getting the WCW brand back in business.
“So by launching on PPV instead of television, I’m not only going to get the television promotion that I’m going to get anyway because of the deal that we structured, but I’m going get all of these other opportunities from PPV companies big and small, local and national around the United States generating the launch of this new version of WCW. So it was a strategic decision to launch on PPV because I thought it would benefit us in the long haul, in the aggregate if you will, in terms of promotional spots and coverage moreso than launching it on television. Fewer people would have watched, that was okay.” Bischoff said. He believed that even with a smaller audience tuning in via PPV, the gameplan would still work out much better for the relaunch ultimately when Nitro came back on TV.
“The promotion that we would have enjoyed on the way to the PPV and the buzz that we would have hopefully created at the PPV, we would be able to follow up on the following week on Nitro when we finally did make it to air and probably do much better than just launching on television if that makes sense.”
Check out the full episode of 83 Weeks below: