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WWE programming is anchoring NBC Universal’s cable TV programming being live and weekly around the year. However, WWE’s presence at the NBCU Upfronts presentation Monday in New York City did not seem to make much of a splash.
It captures how far WWE has to go in order to be taken seriously as a part of NBCU’s “mainstream appeal” to media buyers and be taken seriously by publications covering the Upfronts.
John Cena, who has taken an expanded role on NBC’s “Today” Show while injured this year, was the key figure representing WWE programming at the two-hour event that combined all of NBCU’s programming in one presentation for the first time.
The Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki) were also on-hand to represent E!’s “Total Divas” and spin-off “Total Bellas” programming.
However, the event was dominated by NBC programming, executives dismissing TV ratings and talking about audience engagement, and a parade of cameos turning the event into an entertainment spectacle.
Deadline.com did not mention Cena in their coverage, Broadcasting & Cable and Hollywood Life mentioned Cena in passing as one of the stars appearing at the event, and E! News merely highlighted Cena and the Bellas on the red carpet.
Although Raw, Smackdown, and Bellas-related programming is a significant part of USA Network, the Upfront captured that WWE is swimming in a big NBCU pond once moving outside of the cable TV bubble.