Temple University’s Temple News has spoken with Total Divas story producer and lifelong wrestling fan Michael Wehr, who discusses how the episodes are constructed, how the show has affected the wrestling business and who are the show’s runaway stars.
How he got the Total Divas gig: “I was working on a show for TLC called Gypsy Sisters and I was going to sign on for season two, but I started interviewing for other shows. One of my ex-coworkers recommended me to a friend of his, and all I heard was that it was a wrestling show about girl wrestlers. So I made the call to the powers that be and within 30 seconds, she told me it was for the WWE and I said I’ll sign on. I had to break some ties, but everybody knows you have to go where the work is, and I don’t think I could live with myself if I passed up on a WWE show.”
How the stories are constructed: “I watch endless amounts of footage. I take different aspects and form a story without manipulating it too much. Going in, the executive producers kind of have an idea of what direction they want to go in, but other times a scene will be shot and the story is not getting across, so we have to figure how to do that as quickly as possible. Two people could be having a heart-to-heart, and then all of a sudden a dog could run in barking with some kids and ruin the scene.”
On episode The Fat Twin, whose storyline he created: “I have a feeling that [episode] four is the funniest in the series.”
The success of Total Divas: “You can usually get a sense of how good a show is going to be from your first day of work. If I’m watching something and I don’t laugh or sense drama, then I get worried. On Total Divas, there was always some sort of nugget that could be translated into good television. The fact that the WWE fan base is so huge and E! was so gracious to promote it as much as it has definitely helps. But I didn’t think the numbers would go up every week. We went from a 1.3 to 1.7 [million] in just two weeks. That’s not unheard of, but I think the surprise of it all is that people didn’t expect a show about female wrestlers to rival shows like The Kardashians.”
Which Divas have benefitted most?: “The Funkadactyls are the runaway stars of the show. They’re finally getting a chance to be something other than cheerleaders. ”
How the show helps the wrestling business: “I think it is doing a lot of justice for wrestling. It’s bringing in people who might have never watched, and now they can appreciate and possibly tune in to wrestling. Honestly, I think this whole thing is going to help every girl’s career.”
Read the full interview on Temple News.