Numerous topics discussed. Interesting stuff.
*Currently, they have 12 weeks where they are live. They hope to expand that at least one week since that week comes in between PPVs, but they are excited and really excited.
*Dixie was the one who approached SpikeTV about going live every week for the summer.
*Carter said she hasn't even spoken with Spike about doing additional live shows beyond the 12-week run. She said she wants to focus on each show and doing the best they can. She said such talks will essentially play themselves out.
*Carter loves the more reality-based elements they are implementing on the show, feeling it freshens up the product and the characters.
*Carter said Impact Wrestling will not be an entirely new show on Thursday. She said it will evolve over time. Carter said they are going to present their product in a unique way and a unique journey. She said once they evolve into the next phase of what Impact is all about, they will face their next challenge. Carter was excited to see where this was going to take them.
*Carter said the Knockouts Division is very important to her. She wants to set a standard that's better than anyone else out there.
*Brooke Hogan will not be wrestling and is there to help get some attention on the product and the Knockouts division in particular. Carter was surprised at how much Brooke knew about the business as she literally grew up around some of the biggest names in the industry.
*Tomorrow on TV, Dixie will introduce Brooke Hogan and will also have another announcement. She said people will have to tune in.
*In regard to negative feedback to Brooke Hogan, Carter said that she hasn't been given a chance yet. They could have brought in someone from outside of the business but chose to bring her in. There's a reason she's a celebrity in her own right and will surprise everyone.
*Carter is very proud of the ten year anniversary and noted that there are some who covered the company from the start who didn't expect it to last ten months. She admitted there have been times when she didn't know if it was going to last. She said they've made a ton of mistakes but said it's been a learning process. She said she doesn't feel the company has ever produced the quality of programming as they are now.
*Carter doesn't believe they need to do 12 PPVs a year and they are currently negotiating contracts on the PPV end. She hopes to have the number of PPVs lower next year.
*Carter was asked what the ideal number of pay-per-views would be for the company if they are able to renegotiate the pay-per-view contracts. She said she doesn't have an ideal number, but said perhaps six to eight. She said she would also settle for ten at this point. She noted that the pay-per-view events make money and they would have to find other ways to replace that revenue.
*Carter said Spike asked them around Thanksgiving last year to expand Impact to three hours. She said they chose quality over quantity.
*Carter said that wrestling matters to them and it's not a dirty word. They are excited to show the real elements that go into the business for the fans.
*Carter said that the Monday night experiment showed the strength of the WWE's business and what they have built over the last few decades. She respects that and wants to build something greater for TNA.
*A caller asked about how TNA is perceived by WWE. She said to not acknowledge competition is ridiculous. She said competition makes you work harder.
*There is a possibility of live specials in 2013 on SpikeTV.
*In regard to content on the Impact broadcasts with the earlier timeslot, Carter said they take the racier elements seriously to present them in the right way. Carter said that too much blood, language and sexually offensive material means nothing. Everything has to have meaning. In their attempts to make it mean as much as possible, some of those elements will come out. She said they have the ability to censor any errant f-bombs or things of that nature should someone slip.
*In regard to fears of producing live TV, Carter said there will always be mistakes and that's the reality of live TV. Live TV gives the audience a desire to need to watch the show live in the face of DVRs. It also prevents spoilers from getting out, which means viewers read it and create their opinion based on what the person wrote and also what's going to be in what segment.
*The move to live TV is happening at "warp speed" as she didn't know they would be live on 5/31 as of the last TV Tapings.
*Carter said they won't stick to any one format and plan to mix it up week to week to get viewers to invest the complete two hours in the live broadcast.
*Dixie Carter will be at the Brooklyn, NY Basebrawl event and actually sent their head of live events a note yesterday that they needed to do a PPV in that stadium.
*Carter said the best thing that they do is provide a great live event experience to the fans.
*Carter was asked about new talents. She said that was one of the reasons they are pulling the curtain back for the Gutcheck and they've found a number of talents like Crimson, Rosita and Jesse Sorensen that way. The Alex Silva decision was legitimately reversed on the fly live and it's an exciting new element on the show and to be put into the system.
*Dixie was asked whether she has interest in John Morrison, Melina, and other free agents. She said they're looking all the time. She also noted that they enjoy finding new undiscovered talent.
*A caller asked whether there is any research that shows whether going live leads to better ratings. She said not necessarily, though she thinks going live will help them gain momentum faster in a new time slot. They don't expect any major ratings changes at first. The new timeslot being live will help them get the audience to the new timeslot quicker and establish that. They want to use the interactive element on the show as they've never had that ability to do before on their TV series. Carter said that tomorrow is a big night but it will only get better in the weeks to come.
*Carter was asked whether there a particular ratings mark or viewership average that she feels they need to reach in order for the live experiment to be considered successful. She said she hasn't really thought about a specific rating or viewership.
*Dixie said one of the key things they are trying to do with the new format is to let the talent cut loose. She said wrestling has always been formatted for certain minutes. She said last week fans got to see just a taste of what Hulk Hogan does behind the scenes. She said she gets very defensive when people claim that Hogan is only with the company to get a paycheck. She put over how passionate Hogan is during meetings and even when he appears and he's not paid to be there. She said she feels honored to be in those meetings even as the president of the company and she wants other people to see that side of him. She noted that the segment that opened Impact last week was completely unscripted and that allowed them to show their characters on a different level.
*They have not had a conversation about what needs to be done to be financially successful going live every week. They want to have consistency and quality week to week. The criticism that they do too much is something she takes to heart. They have to slow down and now have a six month story arc and bible so they can unfold their stories over time. The timeslot change and the summer season means it will take time for the audience to find them but they will hit their mark over time.
*Carter said Alex Shelley is a great talent and the door is open for him to return.
*On Ric Flair: "I cannot comment at this time."
*Carter said they will be doing an Australia tour and it's going to happen. If it was up to her, it would happen sooner than later and they are working and researching dates and venues.
*The goal is to bring Impact to Australia, not Ring Ka King or something else. If someone within her own company beats her to the punch, she won't be a happy camper.
*Carter said that their follow-ups weren't always great in the past, noting the Samoa Joe kidnapping and the Jackie Gayda blackmail tapes. She noted that some would say it was just wrestling and it didn't matter but they needed their attention to detail to be better. Carter said a big goal is to be consistent and have a long story arc and a story bible that will hold them accountable. She said if something has slipped through the cracks lately, it's the exception and not the rule.
*In regard to changes in direction, Carter was asked if anyone one person changed her mind. Carter said it's more about how people follow and watch television anymore. They have great characters but needed to have a more unique presentation and let them cut loose. She hopes to attract new viewers and hopes that happens.
*Concussions were brought up. Carter said there's been an effort and decision on the company's part to get away from more dangerous aspects. She gets offended when the fake word is used in pro wrestling and knows the dangers of what happens in the ring. Jesse Sorensen is lucky to be alive and they have to make everything as safe as possible and that's just the right thing to do.
*Carter was asked about their German events being canceled earlier this year. Carter said they had an issue with their local promoter and while they don't like to cancel shows, it was right the move to make. They need to spend more time and effort to grow the market and the fan base there.
*Dixie was asked about her background. She said she's not afraid to admit what she doesn't know about pro wrestling. She praised Bruce Prichard and said she's surrounded herself with good advisers. She said she knows business.
*In regard to marketing, most series promote the debut and the finale. They have 52 weeks of shows to promote and that spreads them thin, so they sometimes rely on celebrity tie-ins to expose themselves to a new audience. They pick and choose the opportunities and try to grow their audience outside of just pro wrestling.
*Carter was asked about TNA having a UK based promotion similar to how Ring Ka King was specific to India. Carter said, "We are working on something as we speak and we hope to announce something soon. Stay tuned."
*Carter wanted to do TV from London as opposed to a PPV because more people would see it. Carter said she wanted to expose their broader audience worldwide for all to see.
*If they change their taping schedule and go live, they could conceivably tape in Manchester as well as London but right now, that's not in the plans. If they change the taping schedule as they go forward, that could be a possibility still.
*The most perfect world would be on the road every week live but she can't pull the trigger on that until it makes sense. She said that Universal allows them to have different fans every week and going live will allow a different significance and feel to the building.
*As a private company, you don't release earnings and breakdowns and the PPV buyrates won't be released. She said their buys trickle in over the year and there is a lot of false information out there. You can't counter every piece of false information out there, you just move on and ignore it.
*Dixie was asked whether they intend to have more unscripted interviews going forward. "Absolutely, that is the goal," Carter said. She said there will be some of that on tomorrow night's show. She said they will be making a change to the Gut Check panel (presumably a replacement for Ric Flair).
*The X-Division remains important to them but they have had some injuries that has changed their storyline plans. You can't just put anyone in there because if they can't perform at that level, it's glaringly apparent. They are looking for new talent and it's a top priority.
*The European tour is very special to Carter and the company. The UK was the first country to truly give TNA their stamp of approval in terms of wanting TNA to be the top company in the industry. She said they just love the company and everyone in TNA is grateful for that. She said the European tour is a great experience, naming the Liverpool and Manchester venues as some of her favorite.
*Carter said the interactive aspect of the company with meet and greets and personally thanking fans like she likes to do is a critical part of the company.
*They want to continue to have Fan parties and interactive events in the UK between tours to keep the UK fans invested. She'd like to do a second tour a year in different markets.
*The Gut Check deliberation that will air tomorrow was taped. There's been talk about having a female Gut Check contestant soon.
*Carter was asked about advice for someone wanting to break into the company. Carter said you have to be passionate about what you do and try harder than the next person. She said that if you work hard and you are passionate about what you do, you can make it happen. She said there are so many times where the company should have failed to exist but you can't take no for an answer and if you don't, you will succeed.
*They may used the six sided ring for special events down the line like they did for the Destination X PPV.
*Carter was asked about how things have changed since Vince Russo left the company. She said she believes he's a brilliant writer, but sometimes a change is needed. "I'm very happy with Vince's contributions to TNA over the years," she said. Vince Russo was a great creative writer but sometimes its time for change in someone's life. His strengths were his writing. She said they are trying to do things differently and improving upon them. She said he's a truly nice man and she wishes him the best. She said the product change isn't Russo related but looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes and trying to evolve the product around how a viewer might watch pro wrestling. They were doing that when Vince was here and now they are making the changes. They won't be making the changes overnight but will be making them.
*Carter said they aren't currently on TV in Spain but there's been talk of touring there any way since there is such a huge fan base there.
*Carter said those who have been with the company from day one have a different perception on the fight to survive. She noted Kurt Angle, Sting and Hulk Hogan joining the company being big deals and said what Hogan is doing for the company is great for her and the company.
*Carter was asked about running live events in Israel and said it would be something special and amazing for their wrestlers and they hope it can happen down the line.
*They could have overruns on the live broadcasts but Spike has a live show at 11 PM so she doesn't see it going long.
*A caller asked about how the live crowd isn't always picked up properly on television and whether there will be any production changes to help with that problem. Carter said that happened at the Nashville pay-per-view. Carter said that the audio levels of the crowd on PPVs hasn't been up to par and she's hoping the live broadcasts in the Impact Zone will do more to capture that live experience.
*Don West leaving is a "heart-breaker" and he is a hard one to replace but they have what she called a "hit by a bus strategy" and Jimmy Jay has been trained to replace him for a while now, although West leaving will be a big loss.
*Carter was asked who has brought the most to Impact over the last ten years. Carter paused and said that from an iconic standpoint, Sting. From a wrestling perspective, she said no one can touch what Kurt Angle has brought to the show. From a TNA perspective, she said there are so many great originals that are finally coming into their own.
*Dixie was asked to name the one person she would take from WWE. She said The Rock.
*Carter said their biggest problem is having so many talents who deserve to be on TV every week and they have to slow things down and be conscientious to the fact that forcing everyone on the show means no one gets over. They have to build the stories.
*They are focusing on the digital media aspect of the company as they need to streamline that and get it ready for the future as technology evolves and moves forward. She said there are a lot of people who work crazy hours for the company and Bill Banks will have great success overseeing it.
*Dixie was asked whether there are plans to go live with television shows outside North America. She said there are not at this point.
*She said she hopes that where they end up holding the Bound For Glory pay-per-view will excite people. In other words, it will indeed be going on the road again.
*In regard to writers criticizing the company, she said there are some who are spiteful but most are passionate about the business and want to see TNA be the best it can be. She said there have been times they gave the writers a reason to knock them but they are just trying to do the best they can.
*Dixie praised Bully Ray as a fantastic example of someone reinventing himself and said he's on the list of people who are at the top of their game.
*A caller asked whether it's time for TNA to open an office in Los Angeles or New York to have a closer relationship with the media in those markets. "It's absolutely a next step for our company," Carter said. She said she would like to do that also in London and elsewhere.
*Dixie said there are no updates on Ring Ka King or All Wheels Wrestling. She said they hope to make an announcement regarding Ring Ka King soon.