On the latest "My World" podcast, Jeff Jarrett talked about TNA Genesis 2006.
Here are some highlights:
Jeff Jarrett said there was a balancing act between trying to get good TV ratings for the first two-hour prime time TV show that Spike TV gave them and trying to get buys on PPVs:
“Here’s really what we are dealing with. We have a two-hour prime time special, so we can either make this an infomercial for the PPV and sell as many buys as we can, or we can impress Spike and go that route to do everything in our power to go for numbers. We were going to get a little bump in revenue, but our whole mindset was, how do we, and I hate to use that terminology, flipping through the channels, but that’s the reality of it that we had our core audience that were going to watch us on Thursday nights off prime. They were going to be messaged. They were going to be notified. In those days, it was through our website, through Spike, and through the week leading up to it. But still, that’s hard. Changing nights and changing time slots is really a challenge. We made the decision that, ok, we’re going to have casual fans. We’re going to have people that tune in on Thursday’s in prime that are used to watching CSI, maybe a UFC, or maybe literally, flipping through the channels seeing what’s on. If we catch them and we grab them, how do we keep them even if it’s for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, an hour, or God forbid they stay the rest of the show? That was the strategy that let’s do everything in our power to make this the best two-hour show so if somebody is going to sample the product, let it be crazy. Look, casual fans could care less about a wrestling match, so how do you grab them? It’s not an easy job and it’s such a subjective manner, but how do you peak their interest and keep them?”
“It’s subjective, but if you put a match out there for it to be a match, the casual fan doesn’t understand this protagonist or this protagonist. They just don’t get it. Not to draw analogies to any television show that’s been around for a while, but when you have defined characters, and you can go back to Andy Griffith and Barney Fife up to Sopranos and Seinfeld, if the characters are identified, you can make it interesting with them having a cup of coffee, but if it’s two wrestlers that go out there and you don’t know anything about it, and it’s just guys swapping moves, they don’t stick around. I know that’s a hot button.”
“Not to go back too far, but talking about ratings, wrestling matches, and what people will stick around to watch and how you get them to stick around to watch, obviously it’s not an exact science, but we did a study that was an ongoing study about minute by minute ratings. The match started, ding, ding, ding, you would see a decline in ratings if it’s not a special marquee match that’s been built with a story. They tune back ding, ding, ding, when the match is over.”
Jeff Jarrett said when Kurt Angle came to TNA in 2006, Dixie Carter started asking him for his opinions on all things creative:
“Dixie was adamant on getting Kurt’s input on everything. I thought that was a huge mistake. Don’t put Kurt in a position to have to comment on everything because in a lot of ways, that will back him in a corner and more or less force him to give feedback that he’s not really asking to give. That’s putting a top guy that’s coming in, making a boatload of money, and truth be known, Kurt had been in the industry less than 10 years at this point, he learned the WWE way and learned it very well, and learned about Kurt Angle, the Olympic Gold Medalist. Outside of that, I’m positive of this but I didn’t know it at the time, but he didn’t want to give his feedback on everything. It put him in an awkward position. A lot of times, Dixie, and not just with Kurt but with others, would ask people a question but she would hear what she wanted to hear and she would deliver that. I can remember telling her, ‘Dixie, don’t put him in this position. Let Vince (Russo), let Dutch (Mantell) and other creative members craft the show, but asking Kurt to be involved in everything, the very top of the reason why I didn’t want that to go down was, that, by design, takes Kurt’s eye off the ball of his own stuff. I wanted him to focus solely on what makes Kurt tick, his opponent tick, and the best matches, and the best promos. That’s what we hired him for. We didn’t hire him to be on the creative team, and we didn’t hire him to do anything other than be Kurt, be the leader of the company, and from an in-ring perspective, to put the company on his back. I just thought it was doing Kurt a disservice to put him in a position to have to comment on things that candidly, he didn’t give two craps about.”