Netflix is no stranger to culling its homemade shows, with the growing list of cancellations already hitting double figures in 2022 alone. But it also has a less visible history of pulling the plug on shows before they get aired, and we reportedly now have another one to add to the list.
According to Fightful’s Denise Salcedo, Netflix’s long promised documentary on World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) former CEO Vince McMahon has been unceremoniously pulled. It was previously due for release this year, having been announced all the way back in 2020 and tipped to be (opens in new tab) “one of the highest budgeted documentaries in Netflix history” by WWE President Nick Khan.
“Sources tell me that the Vince McMahon Netflix documentary has been pulled & is off the programming spreadsheet at Netflix,” Salcedo tweeted (opens in new tab). “A source at Netflix confirmed it no longer being listed on their spreadsheet, another source at Netflix said ‘that shi*’s out of here.’”
Another source indicated that the project was already “deep” in post-production & that several talent interviews had been done months ago & that millions were spent. I spoke to one of the producers on the project, however they declined to confirm nor deny this story to me. (2/2)July 8, 2022
“Another source indicated that the project was already ‘deep’ in post-production & that several talent interviews had been done months ago & that millions were spent,” she continued. “I spoke to one of the producers on the project, however they declined to confirm nor deny this story to me.”
A different kind of cancellation?
Obviously this is just one source, and with no official confirmation either way from Netflix it shouldn’t be taken as definite. But if it is ultimately confirmed to be true, it’s hard to ignore the unusual set of circumstances that have accompanied its planned release.
When the project was first green lit, McMahon was still firmly involved in the business, but in April he was forced to temporarily step down as WWE CEO (opens in new tab) while the organization’s directors investigated claims that he had paid $3 million to cover an alleged affair with a former employee. McMahon is reportedly (opens in new tab) still in total control of the 'creative' work that manages WWE's programming.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) claimed it had seen documents revealing payouts to four women had reached the $12 million mark over 16 years.
With that in mind, this could well be a very different kind of cancellation to the kind we’re used to from Netflix, which have had more to do with cutting back on projects in the face of the first subscriber slump in over a decade.
It’s also possible that the show’s alleged abandonment has been triggered by the organization itself, with another Fightful reporter claiming that WWE had a right to approve the final cut (opens in new tab).
Whatever the reason, those still waiting for the documentary may prove to be disappointed, unless the “out of this world” footage (opens in new tab) is ultimately used elsewhere.