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USA Reups With WWE

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USA Network has reupped its rights deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, inking a new four-year pact that will keep the Monday night showcase WWE Raw on the channel through autumn 2014.

Along with original series like Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar and In Plain Sight, the two-hour Raw is consistently one of the most-watched programs on USA.

Season-to-date, Raw’s deliveries are up 11 percent in total viewers, as the wrestling franchise is averaging north of 5.5 million viewers each week. Raw has seen significant growth among adults 25-54, increasing its standing among the demo by 9 percent (2.7 million) versus the year-ago period, per Nielsen ratings data. Adults 18-49 are up 3 percent, to 2.7 million.

“I couldn’t be happier about continuing one of the most successful collaborations in television history,” said Bonnie Hammer, president, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. “[WWE chairman and CEO] Vince McMahon and his entire team are an invaluable part of the USA family.”

Since the WWE returned to USA in fall 2005––the program took a five-year leave of absence, jumping to Spike TV precursor TNN in 2000––it has regularly finished in the top 10 weekly programs on ad-supported cable. The show originally debuted on USA in January 1993.

Financial terms were not disclosed. WWE took in $28.3 million in TV rights fees in Q3 2009, although that figure includes global distribution revenue and monies tied to new shows like WWE Superstars.