Return date announced for WWE Tough Enough
Jan 3, 2011 - by staff
â€˜Tough Enoughâ€™ Wrestling Is Set to Return on USA
By BRIAN STELTER
Wrestling is taking over another hour of cable television. World Wrestling Entertainment will announce Monday that it is resurrecting “WWE Tough Enough,” a competition to cast a new member of the organizationâ€™s roster. The program was retired by MTV in 2003, but the USA network is bringing it back and pairing it with the hit franchise “Monday Night Raw.”
The return of “Tough Enough” deepens WWEâ€™s relationship with USA channelâ€™s parent, NBC Universal, the media company that Comcast is on the cusp of acquiring. For years, USA has been the home of “Raw,” and last year the Syfy Channel became the home of “Friday Night Smackdown.” WWE executives have spoken publicly about wanting to start a cable channel, and the relationship with NBC and Comcast may prove useful.
Kevin Dunn, the executive vice president for television production at WWE, said “Tough Enough” would be “a brand builder for us.” It will feature 12 men and women jostling for a one-year WWE contract.
“Itâ€™s a way to bring eyeballs to the WWE product that wouldnâ€™t necessarily watch a live event wrestling show,” he said.
“Tough Enough” is being introduced as USA, known for scripted dramas, seeks to return to unscripted programming. Its last reality show premiere was “Made in the USA” in 2005. A USA spokesman said the channel was hiring unscripted development executives.
Mr. Dunn said WWE had been talking to USA “for years” about resuming “Tough Enough.” After a splashy premiere on April 4 following “WrestleMania,” the show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on Mondays before “Raw.”
Mr. Dunn said the addition of “Tough Enough” on USA did not reflect any change in the companyâ€™s plans for a channel of its own. “Weâ€™re talking to partners,” he said, and those include NBC Universal.