– During the latest 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed running the 100th episode of Monday Nitro as the show’s first three-hour episode. Nitro had been a two-hour show up until that August 4th, 1997 episode, when it was decided to test out running as three hours. WCW would run two other test runs at three hours in 1997 before going to three hours full-time in January of 1998.
Bischoff recalled that, contrary to some people’s suspicions, the three-hour runtime was not done in order to get a jump on WWE in terms of the share of wrestling viewers and was in fact something he was not in favor of. Instead, he said it was a financial mandate from the network.
“No, it wasn’t [done to get the jump on Raw],” he said. “It was really an economy of scale kind of a decision. It costs a certain amount of money to produce a two-hour show. And our ratings were great, things were rockin’ and rollin’. We definitely had the attention of the audience. And it became a financial decision from TNT, not from me. I didn’t want to do a three-hour show, for God’s sake. It’s hard enough doing a two-hour show.”
He continued, “But the executives at Turner Broadcasting, the financial side of the business and Brad Siegel went, ‘Wait a minute. We’re spending X amount of money for this two-hour show, and for 10% more we could have a three-hour show and get an even bigger ROI or return on investment for the production. So it was really an economic decision, a financial decision, that was imposed upon us by TNT. I certainly was not a big fan of that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.