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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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CBS Responds to Critics of MMA Debut

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In life and network television, there are tradeoffs.

Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President for CBS Primetime television, found out you can’t please everybody, especially when perfection is the standard.

On the mixed martial arts message forums mere hours after the conclusion of CBS’s grand MMA experiment, “CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights,” Kahl realized that few fans were ready to give his product a ticker tape parade. Much of the feedback was downright nasty.

“I thought some of it was fair,” he said. “I think in some cases you have people out there who… basically, if it’s not UFC it’s not credible.

“We have a little work to do with the hardcore fans and that’s something we’ll certainly address next time. But I think in terms of getting new people in I think we did a fantastic job.”

The preliminary evidence on the show’s success appears to support that claim. Early numbers for CBS’s dream demographic, 18-34 year-old males, jumped 271 percent from previous Saturday night averages. The two-hour telecast also led in ratings for adults 18-49, improving 36 percent from its usual Saturday night programming. It’s a trade Kahl and CBS are more than willing to make.

“We had three goals going in,” he said. “We wanted to get younger viewers to a sleepy Saturday night for CBS, especially men. We certainly did that. It shows that this sport definitely has a broader appeal. Secondly, we wanted to get some new advertisers in the house. We had some first class advertisers, guys that don’t normally come to CBS. And we wanted to help expand the footprint of MMA.

“Certainly there were some people that were tuning in that decided it wasn’t for them. I have to believe we got new people turning in for the first time and liked what they saw. We’ll be back, not just to CBS, but all the different outfits in the MMA world. So, in that sense, it’s a win-win.”

Kahl says it’s still too soon to determine whether the network will extend its relationship with EliteXC. The program’s ratings were incomplete, due to the program overrunning its allotted time by 45 minutes. The final ratings, and perhaps the final word on the true popularity of EliteXC headliner Kimbo Slice, won’t be available until Tuesday.

However, Kahl confirmed that the network is eyeing a late summer, early fall return for Elite XC. Of primary concern is putting the next show in a time slot where it isn’t overwhelmed by competition from other sporting events, including mixed martial arts and boxing. The network won’t be rushed into promoting a show it doesn’t have faith in.

“If we can’t put a quality card together worthy of primetime, we don’t want to do that,” Kahl said. “We’re taking it essentially one fight at a time, and we learned some great things from this fight. We want to take all the feedback and do a super job on the next one.”

Kahl is quick to admit the MMA community is new to him. He tries to see the problem of pleasing everyone as a positive, but stresses that the unpredictability of the sport –particularly the controversial stoppages of the main events – is why you can’t please everyone. For a network executive, that’s a difficult thing to come to terms with.

“You don’t get a lot of controversial endings to football and basketball games,” he said. “The ball goes through the uprights or it doesn’t. In this case, you have a doctor coming in and stopping a fight, that’s an inexact science and ripe for questioning. So that’s a new experience as well. But overall I think the process was very exciting.”
http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/...=6401&zoneid=3

I haven't heard very many avg. fans let alone hardcore fans say they enjoyed the show. I could have been better imo.




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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 06:35 PM
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This executive sounds brighter than average, significantly so, which makes Jericho's demise all the more frustrating.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jasvll View Post
This executive sounds brighter than average, significantly so, which makes Jericho's demise all the more frustrating.
Ah Jericho. . .I will miss you. When bad things happen to great TV shows.




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 11:39 PM
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Kelly Kahl sounds like a great guy. I'd bet on CBS doing well with MMA.
1. He admits that they pretty much screwed up with the event in terms of card and rules/referees. It sounds to me like corporate-talk for him saying that he needs to take a closer at the product, card, promoter, and production.
2. He talks about it as a success in other ways: got viewers, got advertisers, and got it thru CBS. OK, the card itself was, in retrospect to him, probably closer to professional wrestling and gladiator stuff than best-of-class MMA. Oops.
3. While I don't know the politics/business, it sounds like he can't get a deal with UFC so he's trying to work around that. And that some of the complaining has to do with not getting access to UFC but some of it has to do with them not properly delivering the goods this time. Which he admits.

Here's a question (that I've asked elsewhere). Do MMA rules merit any refinement as the sport moves into the mainstream? I'm thinking some time limiting of time on the ground to limit ground and pound.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-04-2008, 12:30 AM
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Ah Jericho. . .I will miss you. When bad things happen to great TV shows.
No doubt, great show. Hopefully CBS success translates to network UFC deal.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-04-2008, 12:59 AM
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I dont understand why people hate on elite xc, how can you bitch about free mma?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-04-2008, 01:52 AM
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I dont understand why people hate on elite xc, how can you bitch about free mma?
Because it makes the average joe think that MMA is like Pro Wrestling.

It gave a bad first impression on a sport thats still trying to emerge as legitimate to the general public.

The last thing the MMA sport needed was a controversial first outing.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-04-2008, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by attention View Post
Because it makes the average joe think that MMA is like Pro Wrestling.

It gave a bad first impression on a sport thats still trying to emerge as legitimate to the general public.

The last thing the MMA sport needed was a controversial first outing.
well i really dont sit and think about, oh what impression are we sending, i just cant complain about free mma, yeah they had some bullshit stopages, but shit happens, some of the fights where pretty good, people will have their doubts no matter what, plus cbs said they will do another show, and they got the most ratings ever from a mma event period
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