Unless you were hiding under a rock yesterday, you probably heard that All Elite Wrestling and WarnerMedia have a new deal that will see AEW air a weekly prime time series on TNT. Nothing much else was revealed at the upfronts, but The Wrestling Observer Newsletter does have some additional details. The weekly show will be a live, two-hour series. While the day of the week has not been confirmed, it will either be on Tuesday or Wednesday night.
WarnerMedia is planning to decide which night to put the show on based on market research. Tuesday is looked at as a “creature of habit” night for wrestling fans at the moment since 8-10 PM is currently the time slot for Smackdown. The only problem with Tuesdays is that TNT airs NBA games that night, so it would mean that AEW, much like WCW in the 90s, could be cut down to just an hour some weeks and would air prior to the NBA game that night.
If it aired on Wednesday, it wouldn’t have the benefit of being a destination night for the two million wrestling fans that currently tune into USA, but there wouldn’t be as many time slot changes and they would be able to run the full two hours nearly every week.
TNT did not announce a start date for AEW, but it’s believed that it will begin in October with the start of the fall season. The last Tuesday Smackdown on USA will be on September 24, so if it lands on Tuesdays, it could begin as early as October 1. If on Wednesdays, October 2 is a possibility. Another detail that hasn’t been decided is the show’s name. While “Tuesday Night Dynamite” was rumored, it’s unknown what will be chosen or when that decision will be made.
AEW is still negotiating TV deals in the UK (with ITV 4) and Canada, but the deals can’t be made until the day of the week is decided by Warner. They are also hoping to air in Australia and Mexico, but the US, UK and Canada are seen as key markets.
The deal also includes Double or Nothing streaming on B/R Live, although it will still be priced as a PPV for $49.95, so as not to undercut the PPV providers. This is similar to the UFC. This may have been something that AEW and Warner didn’t have a lot of choice with. The contracts for recent deals with inDemand, Dish and DirecTV may have had stipulations that denied them the ability to undercut the price on streaming. WWE just went and did it and the PPV providers either agreed to keep airing the shows or didn’t, but WWE had leverage due to their longevity. Of course, given how little people pay for WWE and NJPW events now, the price has drawn complaints online.
The deal with Warner will also likely see more content on B/R Live, although it’s unknown what at this time. Turner wants a major push for content there. Ratings on TNT will matter, but they are trying to “leverage multiple venues,” including the streaming service, and Youtube, with their brands, and AEW could fit into that plan like shows like Conan and Rick and Morty do.