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SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

SLAM! Sports
SLAM! Wrestling







Tuesday, November 17, 1998

SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column

TSN screws fans again

By J. ALLAN SMITH -- For SLAM! Wrestling

"Beginning September 1, 1998, 52 WWF RAW events will be broadcast annually on TSN. The weekly telecasts will include an Eastern prime time slot, a Western prime time slot, and an afternoon block."

This is what was told to us in Late July at the Press conference held in Toronto announcing TSN's new 5 year deal with the WWF (you can read it for yourself here or on TSN's site). WWF Canada President Carl DeMarco also promised that it would be live each week beginning in October. So far we've had a total of three live RAW's since the announcement. At first I was confident: "They won't do this to us, will they? Nah...maybe they're a little late, but they will start showing it live eventually"

I had faith in the powers at TSN, they had, after all, signed a contract with WWF. Unfortunately, my hopes continue to be dashed...until, finally, we did get our live RAW.

The pain continued though...TSN had massacred the live show, inserting canned crowd shots into the show, and not letting us see the whole live show. I fumed about this for a few days, sent a well-worded, non-inflammatory letter to them (you can do the same: audiencerelations@tsn.ca) and hoped for a response. I didn't even get a form letter on this matter.

A few days later, as I was surfing their website, hoping for an explanation as to why they would do this to the fans, without even a word of warning, i found the following letter in one of their columnists articles:

Dear Wrestling Fans:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding wrestling on TSN. Realizing that wrestling is extremely popular in Canada, TSN has come to an agreement with the WWF to bring RAW is War live on Monday evenings beginning in November when our schedule permits. If RAW is War can't be seen on Monday evenings live, it will be shown later in that week. TSN is proud to be able to bring WWF RAW is War to our viewers.

With regard to the live editing of RAW is War, TSN complies with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' voluntary code regarding violence in television programming.

For live broadcasts of RAW, late night in Eastern Canada is prime-time in Western Canada and therefore we consider the industry regulations for prime time viewing.

TSN will broadcast a version of RAW is War for a "mature audience" during the midnight eastern - 9 pm pacific timeslot. TSN and the WWF are working together to bring Canadian wrestling fans the most comprehensive wrestling coverage possible. Thank you for contacting TSN.

We always encourage correspondence and appreciate your feedback. Thank you for tuning in and logging on!

Now, I thought to myself, "that makes sense...you don't want the little kids who are watching at 6pm in B.C. to see some of this stuff, and at least they are going to be showing it UNedited later for the 'Mature Audience'" So I was happy again.

Until November 16.

I watched the live episode, and true to their word, it was edited for the younger audience, but that was okay, 'cuz I'd get to see the whole show later, once the kiddies had gone to bed, and it was "no holds barred" time. This however was not to be. The scene with the Godfather and his 'hos' that was edited in the early version was completely cut in the later version!!! I couldn't beleive my eyes...here I had hoped to see exactly what had been taped over by the canned audience (BTW: couldn't they find shots where it looks like the audience is at least at the same show?) and the whole scene was gone.

Now, I'm not trying to come down on TSN, I do understand that they have standards they have to uphold, but if that's the case, should they really have told us that there would be a later "mature" showing we could catch?

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The only wildcard not mentioned by Mr. Smith is hockey. When the TSN-WWF deal was struck, TSN didn't have the rights to any NHL hockey. Since that time, they nabbed Leafs and Canadiens hockey for REGIONAL broadcasting, which obviously means some Monday night hockey. This brings up another point. Why can't TSN edit RAW for REGIONS. The eastern time zone live show goes unedited. A western show is slightly edited, because it airs starting at 6 pm. Then an unedited version airs again at midnight. I'm tired of being insulted by TSN. -- Greg Oliver]

J. Allan Smith is from Winnipeg, Manitoba and can be emailed at kalel1@geocities.com.

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