After bringing back Eric Bischoff this summer as the executive director of Smackdown Live, the WWE has now released Eric. Replacing Eric Bischoff is Bruce Prichard, who many knew him as Brother Love in the nineties.
In a statement released via their web site, the WWE stated the following: Prichard will oversee the creative development of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX and ensure integration across all platforms and lines of business, replacing Eric Bischoff.
Prichard brings nearly 40 years of experience in sports-entertainment with an extensive background in character development and creative storytelling. During his career, Prichard has served in a variety of roles, including announcer, producer, agent and on-screen personality. Earlier this year, Prichard returned to WWE as a member of the company’s creative team.
Bischoff only lasted two episodes since Smackdown moved to friday nights on FOX. Earlier this year, WWE and Fox agreed to a five year billion dollar deal, that brought Smackdown to Fox.
Fox couldn’t have been happier about their deal with the WWE, said Eric Shanks, president and COO at Fox Sports. “At Fox we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the Fox Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television. We are huge fans and know that together Fox Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
Vince McMahon, the WWE Chairman and CEO, called the deal a “perfect match”. Unfortunately for Bischoff WWE felt at the end that they were not a perfect match with Eric.
Eric Bischoff sent out a tweet confirming the news, praising Prichard, but did not address the WWE.
No official word as to why the WWE decided to release Eric Bischoff. For those who thought maybe Eric would take on another role, PWinsider says the WWE confirmed to them that Eric is no longer with the company period.
One has to wonder if Eric’s release was because of Smackdown’s ratings dropping 25% in only it’s second week on Fox. According to Showbuzz Daily, Smackdown drew a 2.899 million views for it’s October 10th episode. That is less than what they had with their debut episode on Fox, bringing in 3.9 million viewers.
But, with only two episode’s in, could it be possible that Vince pulled the plug on Eric. Many have believed Eric was hired for this moment. The moment where the ratings drop and would be used as the scapegoat. But, no one expected for it to happen just two episodes into the new Fox era.