Kelly Kahl, CBS Executive, Discusses MMA's Return to Network Television
FanHouse spoke to Kelly Kahl, senior executive vice president of primetime programming for CBS, about how this decision came about and whether he thinks the UFC will counter-program the telecast. The full interview is below.
How did this decision come about?
Well, we had a deal with StrikeForce for some time. When they did a deal with Showtime, CBS had a deal in place, as well, and we always kept the door open. We were just kind of waiting for the right place, right time and right talent. And once Fedor was signed, that certainly looked to us as a great way to jump back into MMA on network TV. And talking to our partners at Strikeforce and Showtime, we were able to put a fight together and we're very excited to get back on the air.
Will you be heavily promoting Fedor on CBS like you did when Kimbo Slice fought on the network?
Certainly that is part of the plan and that's what we're going to work on almost immediately start doing. While Fedor is certainly the No. 1 heavyweight in the world, you know, we have to let non-MMA fans know who this guy is. He's got a great look, he's got a great story and we need to share that with people.
Are you concerned that the UFC will try to counter-program this telecast?
You know, the UFC is a great company and a smart company. They're going to do whatever they feel is necessary to protect their interests. They've done it before and they've done it really any time anybody else has put a big show together. So we'll make due with whatever they do or maybe don't do. But would it surprise us if they counter-program? No.
Will anything be done differently on the broadcast from the past EliteXC shows on CBS?
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