Get set to relive those days of larger-than-life men in colorful spandex dishing out beatings to one another while orating to throngs of rabid fans. Bruckheimer TV is set to bring the world of ’80s wrestling to NBC – courtesy of the most electrifying man in sports entertainment: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
The yet untitled drama, from Spartacus: Gods of the Arena scribes Brent Fletcher and Seamus Kevin Fahey, will be a wild departure for Bruckheimer TV – known almost entirely for producing procedurals like the former ratings juggernaut CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case and Without a Trace.
Because the series will be more dramatic – and likely more serialized in nature – there will be some high hopes and anxiety regarding its prospects for success, as it will determine the company’s willingness to venture outside a very lucrative comfort zone.
However, given the way Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler resonated with audiences, and given the talent attached to this proposed series, it doesn’t sound like much of a long shot.
Speaking of the talent involved: for Johnson, this marks his first foray behind the scenes in television, and the involvement of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation star will certainly be one of the biggest draws for the program.
No casting has been announced, but the notion of Johnson and other popular WWE stars (past and present) making appearances is not at all far-fetched. Recently, wrestlers like John Cena and Big Show have been featured in episodes of USA programs like Burn Notice, Psych and Royal Pains, so showing up on NBC wouldn’t take much.
The show makes a great deal of sense for NBC. The network has been struggling of late, and having an intriguing, original program that also targets the nostalgic heartstrings of a huge and already-established audience may just be NBC’s ticket out of last place. At any rate, the world of 1980s professional wrestling will be a far cry from mimicry of the 1960s era – a trend which is set to assault the airwaves this fall in the form of Pan Am and The Playboy Club.
Besides renting out wrestling superstars, NBC can also consolidate their advertising and cross-promote the program with its sibling networks USA and Syfy, which serve as the current home of Vince McMahon’s WWE programs like WWE Smackdown! and Raw.
Bruckhiemer TV has been busy as of late. In addition to landing wrestling at NBC, the company has put pilots in for a Navy SEALs drama at ABC and a mom-turned-state-trooper drama for CBS.
Given Johnson’s increased stardom after this year’s Fast Five, the show could prove to be a high profile acquisition for NBC, so we will keep you posted as the series develops.
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