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The preliminary answer may be yes, Variety says. Since the terrible event, Nielsen ratings of the two-hour Monday prime-time “WWE Raw” on USA at 9 p.m. have dropped by 10 percent in total viewers — and, more significantly, by 21percent in men 18 to 34 and 17 percent in men 18 to 49. (The comparisons are to average ratings for the second quarter, Variety notes.)

Similarly, Sci Fi Channel’s Tuesday prime-time “Extreme Championship Wrestling” at 10 p.m. tumbled by 9 percent in total viewers and by 28 percent in men 18 to 34 and 19 percent in men 18 to 49. Mr. McMahon’s writers had assigned Mr. Benoit as a regular performer with “ECW.”

However, a spokesman for World Wrestling Entertainment said there’s no proof these falloffs are traceable to the Benoit tragedy. The two series, he said, faced some stiff competition during July, including “Home Run Derby” on ESPN and even a Larry King interview on CNN with marquee wrestler John Cena.

A USA spokeswoman said that in previous years, the ratings of “WWE Raw” have spiked when the writers have begun to punch up the story lines in anticipation of a big pay-per-view annual event in late August called “Summer Slam.” The network expects the same thing to happen this year, she added.

Laila Ali weds

Boxing champ and “Dancing With the Stars” finalist Laila Ali married retired NFL star Curtis Conway in Los Angeles on Sunday, Miss Ali’s representative told People magazine.

The couple met two years ago when Mr. Conway hosted a small get-together at his house, which Miss Ali, 29, attended with a friend. Mr. Conway, 36, popped the question last Thanksgiving.

“People think she dominates the relationship,” Mr. Conway told People in May, “but she’s a sweetie pie.”

Carey to come on down

Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped yesterday to replace silver-haired legend Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show “The Price Is Right.” Mr. Carey confirmed the deal during a taping of the “Late Show With David Letterman,” AP said.

After 35 years in the job, Mr. Barker, 83, retired last month following the taping of his 6,586th episode.

Mr. Carey, 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and also was host of the comic improvisational show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.