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WWE Tough Enough: Exclusive Interview with Producer and Host John “Big” GaburickPage 2
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RNO: On a final note on past seasons, Dale has mentioned many times that he has seen Matt Morgan work in OVW and is happy to see him progress. What do you think about Matt getting a deal before the series was even over?
Big: Well, they gave him a developmental deal, which as you know is quite a bit different than what the winners got. We saw a lot of potential in Matt, and we’re glad to see that he’s utilizing that potential. He has a real desire to achieve his dream, and if he works hard, that dream will come true. It’s like I said earlier, he got exposure from the show, and that exposure led directly to him getting a deal. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m very proud of him.
RNO: I know you came here to talk about the new show, so let’s do that. What can you tell us about the cast?
Big: You probably saw the press release we sent out. But I can tell you we have an exciting season. The cast is tremendous, there’s no other way to say it. We’re very pleased with the way things turned out this season. It will be very exciting.
RNO: How would you compare this cast to the last two?
Big: I don’t want to… before I compare, I will say we take the show in a different direction. This season epitomizes the “Tough” aspect of “Tough Enough.”
RNO: I’ve noticed that the promos I’ve seen have seemed to emphasize the pain and roughness of wrestling.
Big: Well, wrestling is a brutally tough business to be in, and we emphasize it this season. It is an MTV show, so we show interpersonal relationships, but the trainers really emphasize the toughness. The casting was even done differently, not the big extravaganzas of the past, but much more intimate.
RNO: I’ve read that you invited a lot fewer people to the tryouts this year. What will we be seeing on the Casting Special?
Big: We’re not even calling it the Casting Show, it’s simply the season premiere. People sent thousands of tapes and we invited seventy-five people to try out, twenty-five in each regional city of Denver, Chicago, and New Orleans.
We were able to do much more in-depth casting. We did training drills, talked to them each for over a half hour. After we finished, we invited twenty-one people out for three days of final casting in California.
RNO: Three DAYS?
Big: Yes, three days of casting, including some ring time. And that’s what you’re going to see on Thursday the 17th. It allowed us to see them work before we picked them, which lends itself to a much stronger cast.
RNO: What surprises do you have in store for us this year?
Big: I really can’t go into details. Every season we have new surprises, every year new things are brought to the show. We have no shortage of surprises this year.
One thing I will mention, we feel that the audience is the most important part of Tough Enough, so we wanted to make the audience part of the decision making process. Toward the end, you, your readers, everyone will be able to participate in the decision making process and make their voices heard, which is very exciting.
RNO: One of my problems with last season is that it seemed to be more Real World, less wrestling. Will this year be more balanced?
Big: We always try to find a healthy balance. But WWE had final editorial approval over everything. I think that’s a fair criticism in some episodes. In some episodes there was a lot of wrestling. It’s tough to find that balance so that everyone will enjoy it. One of the things Tough Enough gives WWE is capturing a new audience. Maybe there’s someone out there who hasn’t watched WWE for a while, TE allows these people to see what goes into becoming a wrestler. We think, this year we have a good mix of interpersonal relationships and learning how to wrestle.
RNO: What about the critics who said that watching people fall on their backs all day was boring?
Big: Through the casting process this year, we got a week’s head start. The thirteen already knew how to get in and out of the ring, they had some knowledge. Because of that, they picked things up very quickly this season. Our cast this year are all athletes, all intelligent, and all able to put 2+2 together very quickly.
RNO: Is there a hot-tub this year?
Big: Yes there is. You’ll be excited to hear that, I’m sure.
RNO: Why the switch in trainers from Bob Holly and Chavo Guererro to Bill DeMott?
Big: A combination of a lot of reasons. What happens at the end of each season, JR, Kevin Dunn and myself go into a room and talk about who we would want as a trainer for next season. We talk about everyone on the roster, taking into account whose character would fit the show, who would be comfortable in the role, who has experience training, who has the time in their schedule. When we find the character we want to highlight, we approach people and ask. We try to mix it up. We would have loved to have Bob Holly back, or Chavo, but we wanted to have someone new.
RNO: So what do you think of the job Bill did on the show?
Big: Bill hit a home run. He’s knowledgeable, epitomizes the word tough, he’s not afraid to speak his mind. We also feel this is a good fresh start for him. He’s pretty much reached the end of what he could do with the Hugh Morrus character. Bill definitely hit a home run.
RNO: What about special guests for this season?
Big: Oh, wait, let me check my notes from your report: “Confirming a theory of mine from past years, Lance Storm says that he was really given no direction or script for his session, and thus resorted to making fun of Al Snow most of the time.” Is this how it looks to you?<--Previous 1 2 3 Next-->
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