After WCW went out of business, Eric went on to appear on Monday Night RAW in the on-air role of General Manager. While Eric has been out of the wrestling spotlight for a few years, he has been very busy as a producer of television shows, selling energy drinks, and writing his autobiography.
He is set to return to television as part of Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. I had the opportunity to speak with Eric just a few days before the premiere of his new show.
Eric Cohen: Your new program, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling will be debuting on Saturday night. Can you tell me a little about the show?
Eric Bischoff: What I can tell you is that the title kind of speaks for itself. It’s Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. It’s a reality series. I would say it is probably an equal balance of one-half great reality and one-half a look inside of the world of professional wrestling to see what it takes to become a professional wrestler. Not that we expect any of these celebrities to leave our show and pursue a career in wrestling, but what we really wanted to do was give the audience who watches the opportunity to see just what kind of work and talent and art goes into becoming a good professional wrestler. I believe that we achieved both with a great reality format, which is tough to do in this day and age, and I think that the wrestling fans will also see an aspect of professional wrestling that, while they are not going to see any moves or techniques that they haven’t seen before, they are going to get a chance to learn about the psychology and the art form of professional wrestling in a way that I don’t think quite honestly has been exposed on television thus far.
Eric Cohen: The basic premise of this show is kind of similar to the old WWE show Tough Enough. How is this show different from that one?
Eric Bischoff: Actually, it is not similar in any way. The WWE Tough Enough show was really about aspiring wrestlers that were in the WWE training facility working hard and competing to get a contract to WWE. There was very little reality formula in that show. It was reality show that in the most part it was unscripted but there were none of the elements in the storytelling techniques that traditionally a good reality show uses to build drama and to tell a story. That is one of the things that I think our show does so much better than Tough Enough did. And granted, Tough Enough wasn’t designed to be the type of show that our show is. It wasn’t trying to be a great reality TV show. It was trying to be a platform to expose their wrestlers to an audience that might not otherwise watch professional wrestling. Our show was really designed to appeal to that vast audience out there that really enjoys reality television and expect a format and a formula that employs good storytelling techniques. I think that’s the main difference in our show. You’ll see a story, you’ll see the kind of chemistry, both good and bad, that exists between the performers (the celebrities) and how that plays out in the ring. I think that’s the big difference.
Eric Cohen: You’re the executive producer of this show as well as having been the executive producer of several other TV shows. Can you explain to my readers what exactly an executive producer is and what an executive producer does?
Eric Bischoff: It’s kind of a broad title. Typically an executive producer oversees all of the elements of the production of the show. In our case, my partner, Jason Hervey, and I most often create the show. It comes from our basket of ideas. We develop those ideas. We put the right teams together. We are the ones out there selling the shows to the networks. Once the show is sold, we oversee the production of that show. We are responsible for all of the elements of production of that show including, making sure that the show stays on budget, the quality of the show that the network has agreed to purchase. So there are a lot of things that go into being the executive producer.