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Turner to Pull Plug on WCW as It Hunts Buyer

March 20, 2001|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Turner Broadcasting System Inc. has decided to stop airing World Championship Wrestling, a mainstay of the network's lineup since its fledgling days in the 1970s, as it continues to scout for a buyer for the troubled company.

The decision means that the WCW will go on hiatus after a March 26 event in Panama City Beach, Fla., pending its sale to a new owner.

Turner spokesman Jim Weiss said Monday that Turner expects the company--which lost an estimated $80 million last year--will be sold quickly.

"It was a nice ride, but it's time for the ride to be over," Weiss said.

The decision to scrap wrestling was one of the first major programming decisions made by the new chief executive, Jamie Kellner.

He assumed control of Turner when AOL Time Warner merged the company's channels--TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, the Cartoon Network and all of the CNN networks--into the WB network. Kellner helped establish the WB in 1993.

Weiss confirmed that one of the bidders for WCW is its longtime rival, World Wrestling Federation, whose ratings have trounced the WCW in recent years.

Another bidder is Fusient Media Ventures, a New York media investment firm, which announced its purchase of the company in January. That deal fell through when Turner decided to end its wrestling programming, leaving the WCW without a broadcaster.

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