NEW YORK (AP) – World Wrestling Entertainment is looking for a new television home.

Cable’s Spike TV, which has shown pro wrestling regularly on Monday and Saturday nights, said it has stopped negotiating with the WWE for an extension of a contract that ends in September.

“Moving forward, Spike TV will expand its investments in original programming and new acquisitions for its core audience,” the network said in a statement.

“WWE Raw” and “WWE Raw Zone” are regularly among the most popular programs on cable television; they ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in last week’s ranking of the most-watched prime-time basic cable shows.

They’re particularly popular among the young men that Spike TV seeks as an audience.

Spike wouldn’t comment beyond its statement, but a network executive speaking on condition of anonymity said wrestling was never as popular with advertisers as it was with audiences. Spike is also moving toward more scripted programming and less reality, the executive said.

Still, Spike’s statement that its decision came “after several months of negotiations” indicates that its executives saw wrestling had value – just not the value that WWE saw.

The USA Network, which was the home for wrestling before it moved to Spike in 2000, is considered the most likely spot for the WWE.

A USA Network spokesman declined to comment Friday. The WWE wasn’t talking, either.

The loss of wrestling will undoubtedly leave a hole in Spike’s schedule and cost a considerable number of viewers.

At least Spike’s chief executive, Doug Herzog, will be used to the experience. He was the head of USA five years ago when wrestling left for Spike.

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