WWF pins Baltimore to the map

November 08, 1999|By DAVID ZURAWIK

If you thought having "Homicide: Life on the Street" or "Runaway Bride" filmed here put Baltimore on the map, brace yourself for some really show-business-and-civic-pride news: UPN's "WWF Smackdown!" is coming to Baltimore tomorrow.

That's right, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chyna, the Undertaker, the Big Show, the Rock and the rest of the World Wrestling Federation troupe are coming to the Baltimore Arena, and their videotaped performance will be shown Thursday on the UPN network, according to Patti McTeague, a UPN vice president in Los Angeles.

And, if that isn't big-time enough for you, McTeague says Arnold Schwarzenegger will also be at the Arena and featured in the program.

Why Schwarzenegger?

"Because he has a new movie coming out Friday, `End of Days,' and he wants to promote it Thursday night on network television during the show that's No. 1 with teen-age boys in America, `WWF Smackdown!' " McTeague explained.

Isn't American television great?

McTeague is right about the success of "WWF Smackdown!" and teen-age boys. The Thursday night telecast was reviled by critics when the network announced it in May, but it has been a hit with young men since its debut in August.

In fact, it is one the bigger hits of the new season and one of the main reasons the Fox network, which also targets young men, is in so much trouble on Thursday nights.

Furthermore, Baltimore is one of the hottest markets for "Smackdown," according to UPN. Thursday's broadcast was watched by the largest Thursday-night audience in the history of WUTB (Channel 24), the UPN-owned station in Baltimore, according to Nielsen Media Research, which put the audience at about 66,000 area homes last week.

Tomorrow night's events start at 7: 30. The Thursday broadcast can be seen from 8 to 10 p.m. on Channel 24 in Baltimore.

For more information on attending tomorrow's "WWF Smackdown!" call 410-347- 2000.

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