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WWE Studios plans TV originals assault

WWEWWE Studios is expanding beyond feature films and into original TV and digital content production.

The production arm of wrestling/sports entertainment giant WWE is looking to work with coproducers on scripted and reality TV shows, and is also eyeing the family and animated spaces.

WWE Studios president Michael Luisi will continue to oversee the business, and will oversee the TV and digital pushes.

The company has in the past partnered with Mattel on a shortform animation series, WWE Slam City, has made E! Entertainment reality shows based on its stars with Bunim-Murray Productions, and run competition series Tough Enough, but the new move is more strategic in nature.

Upcoming on the slate is a HBO documentary about Andre the Giant, a late wrestler known for his battles with Hulk Hogan in the 1980s, and plans for new reality series.

“Given the size of our fan base and their appetite for WWE programming well beyond our core in-ring shows Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live this is the ideal time to further establish the WWE brand with new genres across platforms,” said Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO of WWE. “WWE Studios is open for business with this new TV and digital initiative.”

Luisi said WWE Studios would “look forwards to identifying key partners to work alongside us while creating opportunities to use our on-screen WWE talent in new and exciting ways”.

On the film front, the WWE is working up Fighting with My Family, a coproduction with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions based on the life of WWE star Paige and her family.

The WWE’s online subscription service, WWE Network, was recently ranked as one of the top streamers in the US.