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WWE and UFC Finalize Merger as WrestleMania 39 Becomes the Most Successful in Franchise History

Photo: WWE/NYTimes

In a move that sent shockwaves through the sports entertainment industry, the WWE has finalized a merger with Endeavor’s UFC.  The news comes on the heels of the most successful WrestleMania in the history of the company in Los Angeles.

Monday, Vince McMahon announced plans to sell a controlling stake in WWE to Endeavor in a merger with mixed-martial arts rival UFC.  The all-stock deal will see Endeavor’s UFC and WWE merged to create a new standalone company, yet unnamed, noted to be worth around $21 billion. Endeavor shareholders will own 51% and WWE shareholders 49%.  An 11-member board will be split 6 directors to 5, Endeavor-WWE.

WWE in the deal is valued at $9.3 billion. In the re-alignment, Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel will be the CEO, McMahon will be the executive chairman. WWE CEO Nick Khan will be president of the unified company and UFC’s Dana White will continue as president of that organization.

In an interview with Emanuel and McMahon for CNBC, Vince shared that it was time for things to evolve, elaborating, “a family business has to evolve, for all the right reasons. And this is the right business decision, and it’s the right family decision.”  The major merger is expected to close mid-year pending regulatory approval.

This all comes at a time for McMahon where he had to pay the company back $17 million dollars of reimbursement for costs during the legal probe for allegations of sexual misconduct against him.  When many thought Vince was done at the WWE, he has bounced back.  Vince expressed: “Let me just say, I’ve made mistakes both personally and professionally through my 50-year career. I have owned up to every single one of them and then moved on.”

The deal was struck as a crucial time when Fox and NBCUniversal are entering into an exclusive negotiating window which began on April 1st. Fox airs Smackdown, while USA Networks airs Raw, and in a separate deal, Peacock now holds the streaming rights.

During Monday Night Raw, Paul ‘Triple H” Levesque assured viewers at home and the audience in attendance at Crypto.com arena in Los Angeles, that with the new merger, it will not effect the current landscape of WWE programming and live events, sharing “We ain’t goin’ nowhere!”

Photo: WWE

In a look at WrestleMania 39 by the numbers: the two-day sold-out event at SoFi Stadium set new records for viewership, gate, sponsorship, merchandise and social media. Night 2 surpassed the existing global viewership record by 33 percent, just one day after Night 1 of WrestleMania 39 surpassed the existing global viewership record by 28 percent.

WrestleMania 39 generated a gate of more than $21.6 million, breaking the previous record by 27 percent, with 161,892 in attendance at SoFi Stadium over the two nights.  Sponsorship revenue eclipsed $20 million, more than doubling the previous record. Merchandise sales were up 20 percent versus the record set in 2022.  This year’s WrestleMania has over 500 million views on social media and 11 million hours of video consumed over the two days, a 42 percent increase over last year.

Now take a look at Vince McMahon and Ari Emanuel discussing their merger with CNBC this morning below, followed by Triple H addressing the crowd at the beginning of Monday Night RAW tonight.

Do you think the WWE/UFC Endeavor merger will ultimately be a a good long term for the WWE? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

General Hospital

Elizabeth MacRae, ‘General Hospital’s’ Meg Baldwin, Passes Away at 88

Veteran actress, Elizabeth MacRae best-known as the third Meg Baldwin on General Hospital and as Gomer Pyle’s girlfriend, Lou-An Ann Poovie, in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C has died at the age of 88. MacRae passed away in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she grew up.

On General Hospital, Elizabeth played Meg Baldwin who had a young son, Scott (Kin Shriner) from a previous relationship and who married Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen). The role was originated by Patricia Breslin from 1965-1969. Breslin was temporarily replaced by Jan Shepherd for three weeks in the summer of 1967. MacRae took over the part from Breslin full time from 1969-70 and again from 1972-73.

In story, the character of Meg suffered a nervous breakdown and Lee had her committed to an institution. In 1971, Meg was released and came home, but suffered from severe hypertension. In 1973, Dr Lesley Webber was assigned to her case. Meg became jealous of Lesley and began to think that she was trying to get to have sex with Lee. During an argument with Lee, Meg died of a stroke and soon after Lee adopted Scott.

Photo: ABC

MacRae also appeared on other notable soaps, having roles on Another WorldDays of Our LivesGuiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow.  Elizabeth’s career spanned over two and half decades having also appeared in classic TV shows and countless movies such as: Route 66Surfside 6RendezvousThe FugitiveJudd for the DefenseGunsmokeBonanzaI Dream of Jeannie, and The Andy Griffith Show.

Photo: CBS

She is survived by five stepchildren, Terry Halsey, Peter Halsey, Hugh Halsey, Cate Halsey, and Alex Halsey Topper.

Share your remembrances of GH’s Elizabeth MacRae via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Reveals When Days of our Lives Episodes From His Head Writing Regime Resume Streaming

Days of our Lives viewers have not been watching material from head writer Ron Carlivati and his writing team for many months. Well, things are about to change.

Circle this Friday, May 31st when the first new script from Carlivati and company will stream on the Peacock soap opera. If you recall, Carlivati had to step away from the writing gig at DAYS due to the writer’s strike, but because the soap tapes at least seven months ahead of air, it is only now that fans will see how the stories shift or finish out that were started by Carlivati.

According to Ron’s conversation with TV Insider, when Carlivati and his team resumed writing the show in late October of 2023, the stories were already written well into 2024. Carlivati explained, “For me, as of us talking right now, the (replacement writers’ material) is still airing, so that has been very tough. I’m just very anxious and eager for our stuff to start airing again.”

Photo: JPI

Ron explained before the writer’s strike, he and his scribes had written up through the 2023 Thanksgiving episodes. Speaking on how the replacement writers tried to handle stepping in for the regular team, Ron expressed, “I think what they tried to do was move things slowly in the hopes that the strike would end and respect where my storylines were so that I could play them off when we came back. Unfortunately, the strike dragged on, so I understand that the show needed to make story decisions.”

The award-winning writer made clear that, “from January to May (2024), those were not my stories. I had nothing to do with those.”

Having lived through a writer’s strike before (when he was at One Life to Live in 2008), Carlivati explained how he dealt with coming back and adjusting the stories including that the plan was to, “blow things up, jettison anything that I did not like, and get back to a show that I understand and can enjoy and tell. ”

Photo: JPI

Look for a Carlivati-style ‘wink-wink’ on Friday’s episode. As he puts it, “I did want to make it clear that this was the line of demarcation, that the writers were back and there was a change happening. We have a little nod or two to what was going on in the first day and I think it will be very obvious and clear to the savvy viewer. Luckily, story-wise, certain things were coming to a head already.”

Photo: JPI

Stay tuned for how Ron resolves a Sloan and Nicole showdown, how Eric will find out he is Jude’s true baby daddy, what happens when the new Gabi returns from Salem from out of the slammer, the Maggie/Konstantin wedding, payback time for Theresa and more.

In addition, and as previously reported, when Carlivati returned, he crafted the series 15,000th episode which is set to air in early December, and will also pay tribute to the late Bill Hayes with the passing of his on-screen beloved character, Doug Williams.

So, glad to know Ron and his team’s material will start to reveal itself this Friday and moving forward on DAYS? Comment below.

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General Hospital

LAPD Continue to Seek Johnny Wactor’s Killers Who Remain At Large; Asks Public for Tips and Leads

The Los Angeles police department is ramping up its search for to the whereabouts of the three thieves, who got away after one fatally shot former General Hospital cast member, Johnny Wactor (ex-Brando Corbin) in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 26th in downtown Los Angeles.

Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that police are trying to pull fingerprints from Wactor’s vehicle and are looking for video from the area. They also are checking to see whether there are any connections to other nearby catalytic converter thefts.

The thieves were attempting to steal the catalytic converter from Wactor’s car at the time of his death. Sadly, the LAPD investigators shared they have seen an uptick in violence when these types of thieves are confronted.

Photo: ABC

Catalytic converters contain precious metals in which thieves can make hundreds of dollars selling them to auto parts suppliers or scrap yards, where they can be melted down and the valuable metals extracted.

In addition, on Tuesday May 28th, the LAPD shared more on the incident that took Wactor’s life, stating, “Without provocation, the victim was shot by one of the individuals. The three suspects involved were wearing all dark clothing and driving a dark-colored sedan. The suspects fled northbound on Hope Street. Central Bureau Homicide is investigating this case and is requesting the public’s help.”

Photo: ABC

If you have tip: y0u are urged to call LAPD Detectives Gonzales or Martinez at Central Bureau Homicide, at (213) 996-4142. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).

In addition, Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go to http://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Wactor played General Hospital’s Brando Corbin from 2020 to 2022. According to the LA Times, “Wactor recently had been exploring opportunities in screenwriting while working as a bartender.”

Share your thoughts on this developing story as the LAPD tries to seek justice for the death of Johnny Wactor via the comment section below.

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