There have been conflicting reports about whether AEW’s rumored TV series will air 52 weeks per year, or whether the promotion will have some sort of off-season. TV reporter Tony Maglio of The Wrap broke the story on AEW being in advanced talks with Turner on a TV deal, and noted that the possibility of AEW having an off-season was being discussed. Dave Meltzer, however, said reports of an off-season were not accurate.
In an interview with our own Jeffrey Harris for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, Tony Maglio responded to Meltzer’s report directly and said that while an off-season for a wrestling show doesn’t make much sense, it is being discussed.
“Well look, Dave [Meltzer]’s the best at what he does, I’m not going to say anything bad about Dave, he’s very well sourced, and he may very well be right. I can only really report what my sources tell me. And again, nothing is signed. There is no signed deal here. So anything could change. I think Dave’s response to this makes more sense, if this sounds right, than my reporting, because as I’ve been saying on this podcast, as a former businessman myself, I don’t think an off-season works. I don’t think you can actually compete with WWE and have an off-season. So I can only report what my sources tell me. Right now, they say it’s possible, because those are things being discussed. But I don’t think it makes sense for Turner, and I don’t think it makes sense for AEW as a business to have an off-season. But is it possible? Yeah, they say it’s possible.”
Tony and Jeffrey discussed if an off-season in wrestling can work in great detail in the podcast. Here’s another excerpt of Tony on why an off-season doesn’t make much sense on the surface for a wrestling show.
“You kind of need weekly, because you kind of need continuity and storylines and a regular time-slot. Now people I’ve spoken to have said to me, ‘Yeah, we want it weekly, but that doesn’t mean 52 weeks a year.’ And even people on the network side have said that to me, which is probably and possibly a good thing for AEW from a mission standpoint in terms of not beating the hell out of their talent and the wear and tear that one’s body takes for 52 weeks of TV wrestling. But, that said, an offseason makes people forget. And an offseason allows your competition to get a leg up on you. So, should it be weekly? Yes, of course it should be weekly. I think it should be every week. I don’t know if they’re ready to be every week. I believe AEW has said they’re not going to do live shows that are un-televised, assuming they get a television deal, aside from their PPVs. So maybe that’s the way they will keep the wear and tear down on their talent’s bodies, and on their talent’s appearances, but we’ll see. I think an off-season sounds great, but I think it’s unrealistic.”
You can listen to the full conversation below.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the 411 Wrestling Interview Podcast on 411mania.com.
On how far along AEW’s conversations are with Turner Sports (0:52)
On why Turner is willing to have wrestling return to their networks (3:33)
On what format AEW’s television show will likely take and off-seasons in wrestling (8:26)
On whether reports of the AEW TV deal could possibly jinx or affect it (19:27)
On wrestling journalism vs. general entertainment journalism (21:03)
On Turner’s potential streaming homes for AEW (25:13)
On WWE and AEW’s handling of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight episode (30:21)
On the importance of Smackdown’s deal with FOX and whether it makes Smackdown the “A” show (40:00)
On AEW’s impact on WWE’s talent deals and whether it can be competition to WWE (43:12)
On how Vince McMahon Feels about the AEW TV deal and AEW possibly paying for their airtime on Turner (49:10)