In a bit of a shakeup, WWE has named Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as Executive Directors for their weekly TV shows with Heyman running “Monday Night Raw” and Bischoff overlooking “SmackDown.” Both of them will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.
WWE announced in a press release: “In their executive roles, Heyman and Bischoff will oversee the creative development of WWE’s flagship programming and ensure integration across all platforms and lines of business. The creation of these roles further establishes WWE’s ability to continuously reinvent its global brand while providing two distinct creative processes for its flagship shows.”
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Both of these are full-time executive roles and are not part of a storyline. There had been rumblings going back to earlier this year that Heyman was taking on a bigger creative role behind the scenes and was working directly not only with Brock Lesnar but also with Ronda Rousey.
It’s no secret that there hasn’t been a lot of buzz for the WWE product lately with fans complaining about lackluster storylines along with a decline in ratings and live attendance. This comes just months before the company begins new, mega-money TV deals in the fall with “SmackDown” moving to Fox on Friday nights while “Raw” remains on the USA Network on Mondays.
WWE is putting their faith in both Heyman and Bischoff who bring plenty of experience to the table. Heyman was the brain trust behind the original ECW in the 1990s, bringing a fresh look and innovative storytelling that had a profound effect on shaping other companies. Meanwhile, Bischoff served as WCW president during that time same and sparked the Monday Night Wars against WWE. Heyman has also worked on the creative team in WWE back in the 2000s while Bischoff served in an on-air role as the general manager of “Raw” for a period beginning in 2002.
Heyman is expected to continue in his on-air role as the advocate for Brock Lesnar. As for Bischoff, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had an on-air role at some point in the future.
Both of them bring a different perspective to storytelling and it will be interesting to see how much leeway each is given by McMahon and if “Raw” and “SmackDown” will be two distinctly different shows.
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