Variety had a long piece on World Wrestling Entertainment instituting the celebrity guest host in Monday's edition, noting that ratings have been up 10% for the company's flagship series and that there are plans to continue the appearances through the end of 2009 and possibly all the way to Wrestlemania 26 next March.
The article noted that WWE has become a new outlet for celebrities looking to promote themselves in the same vein as appearances on late night talk shows.
Stephanie McMahon was quoted in the piece, commenting, "We wanted a different way to get our product out there and talked about. Tying us in with celebrities in Hollywood raises our awareness and gets a variety of people talking about us, which is always a positive place to be. Hopefully it will translate to new viewers."
Names confirmed for upcoming appearances according to the article are Bob Barker, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, Floyd Mayweather (as Dave Scherer broke last week) and LeBron James. Names in discussion for appearances as well include Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and his wife Ashlee Simpson, the Osbourne family, Danny DeVito (to promote a wrestling-themed edition of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Regis Philbin (who has appeared at Wrestlemania in the past and is a long-time friend of the company), Kelly Ripa, NBC talk show host Jimmy Fallon, Rachael Ray, MC Hammer, Woody Harrelson (to promote the film "Zombieland"), Serena Williams and Ashton Kutcher.
To read the complete piece, click here.