USA will expand WWE Monday Night Raw three hours per week; the
news was announced via wrestler John Cena's Twitter account during USA's
upfront event Thursday in New York.
The first expanded telecast airs July 23 starting at 8 p.m.
ET. That day, WWE Raw will mark its unprecedented
1,000th episode. The move comes at a time when live sports are drawing
increased attention among advertisers and eliminates the need for USA to find
compatible programming leading into wrestling.
Using social media plays to strength at both USA and WWE.
"The WWE Universe is one of the most socially active and
passionate fan bases in all of television," Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel,
co-presidents USA Network, said in a statement.
"The powerful three-hour block of live TV truly makes USA the year-round
destination for young male viewers on Monday nights."
Cena has more than 2 million followers on Twitter.
The expanded Raw
will provide viewers with new opportunities to interact over social media.
"WWE is proud to celebrate this historic milestone with our
partners at USA Network," said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. "Our new three-hour Raw represents the next
generation in interactive television where our fans won't just watch the show,
they will help create it."