CBS Exec discusses MMA's return to network TV

by Ariel Helwani | source: fanhouse

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?

read full interview...

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Recent Comments »

Gullivers Travels site profile image  

9/18/09 1:39 PM by Gullivers Travels

I've said it a million times...How are they going to promote a guy with essentially no footage? The Strikeforce promo for Fedor is pathetic, just a list of names and the Arlovski KO on loop.

bryanand site profile image  

9/18/09 1:30 PM by bryanand

You can be sure CBS is raping StrikeForce on this deal...

RickStorm site profile image  

9/18/09 1:24 PM by RickStorm

Personally, I'd rather this be on Showtime. I hate commercials. But Fedor on CBS is still great news

mexican jujitsu site profile image  

9/18/09 1:21 PM by mexican jujitsu

good luck SF

PatrickFreitas site profile image  

9/18/09 9:44 AM by PatrickFreitas

I saw so many UFC & TUF promos inside college football on ESPN this weekend. And the UFC gets these free, not a paid ad buy. These would cost a fortune if the UFC bought them at rack rate.CBS is going to have to start turbo loading their network - especially sports and prime programming - with Strikeforce promos if they want to be serious about MMA. Primetime countdown shows are needed too. Can't just promote single events at a time...need consistent branding vehicles like the UFC's Unleashed and TUF.