Susan Levison, Head of WWE Studios, has revealed that fans now hold the department accountable for storytelling thanks to the gradual expansion of projects.
WWE Studios may be known for producing straight-to-DVD feature films such as The Marine series starring John Cena and The Miz, The Condemned 2 starring Randy Orton and arguably their biggest release to date in Fighting With My Family which made its way into cinemas thanks to being produced by The Rock, but in recent years the department has branched out to the WWE Network.
Winding down their production of movies, WWE Studios are the masterminds behind various documentaries and television shows both on the company’s own streaming service as well external streaming channels. These include the HBO hit Andre the Giant doc, Netflix series The Big Show Show, upcoming A&E series WWE’s Most Wanted Treasure and The Miz’s new game show Brawl in the Family.
Now, Head of WWE Studios Susan Levison has spoken to Sports Pro Media in order to detail how the department create their hit shows and how fans always hold them accountable for good storytelling:
“Vince [McMahon] always talks about WWE being the first interactive sports company because when two superstars are out in the ring you can hear the fan – you get your feedback instantly on what’s working and what isn’t. That’s the old school metric that we use when we figure out what to work on next. Fans are so savvy right now. They know when you’re doing a puff piece, they know the nuances of what happened in an event or a match, or the history of an athlete. If you don’t work with a producer who holds you to account and forces you to tell the tough, maybe unflattering, parts of the story, fans otherwise will see it as an advertisement and a whitewash and they’ll reject it. So it’s something [where] we’re constantly trying to push ourselves to tell as much of an objective, true story as we can so that fans will appreciate that we’re really willing to go there.
How will this not just serve our fans, but how does it transcend then into pop culture and will there be a buyer that wants to show it to the whole world? I think that’s a really important question for sports. How do you create a format or an idea, or use a piece of talent in a way that’s bigger than just the core fans of that particular entity?”
While WWE Studios and WWE Network were praised for their Last Ride docu-series on The Undertaker’s final years in the world of professional wrestling, they will soon be collaborating with A&E Network on ten biographical documentaries on various WWE Superstars including Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels.
Their next feature film will be animation Rumble, which will star Roman Reigns and Becky Lynch and is currently in post-production with a 2022 release date. Originally slated for a July 2020 release, the movie was pushed back thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credit for the interview: Sports Pro Media
h/t for the transcription: Fightful