MMA insider The Fight Oracle (aka Front Row Brian) confirmed the rumors that have circulated for months on All Elite Wrestling’s television home.
He noted that Warner Media Group (aka Turner, parent company of TNT and TBS) will present AEW at their television upfronts next month to advertisers. The upfronts are scheduled for May 15th and that is where networks announced their fall line-ups.
Many in the wrestling business have heard about the TNT/TBS rumors but no one with knowledge of the TV talks would go on record to confirm the story until The Fight Oracle reported it on Wednesday night. Fight Oracle added that AEW’s show would debut on Tuesday night on the same week WWE will debut SmackDown on Friday night on FOX. It’s worth noting that WWE plans to launch a live studio show on Tuesday nights on FS1 so that would be in direct competition with AEW. The rumor that has made the rounds among people in wrestling is that the AEW would be live and would run for two hours each week.
Meanwhile, The Wrap is reporting that the deal has not been signed but AEW and Turner are in advanced talks and the idea is for the show to air on TNT. The Wrap quotes an insider saying that the deal is “definitely not signed.”
The Wrap added that conversations surrounding the deal are “pretty complex” and the deal is “not imminent.” Their source did note that they have made a pact to announce a deal by Turner’s mid-May upfront presentation to advertisers.
There is also a streaming component as part of this deal and if the deal is made then it’s likely that some of the pay-per-view events and/or specials would air on B/R Live’s streaming service. B/R is part of the Warner Media Group family.
Another interesting thing reported by The Wrap is that AEW’s weekly show might not be year-round because of the combination of the newness of the company and their desire to be more wrestler-friendly than WWE’s year-round schedule.
Dave Meltzer posted an update on the story on the Wrestling Observer Forum on Thursday morning, which confirms what The Wrap reported:
“As of Sunday, there was no deal. Nobody has gotten back to me if that has changed.
What FRB reported was a likely scenario, but it’s not confirmed at all. Hopefully I’ll hear something tomorrow. If I hear nothing, it probably means the deal is done, but the last I heard from those who would be involved with those deals was yesterday and the subject never came up and it was about Daytona Beach, so it’s not like I’m out of contact. But the hope was to complete the deal by May for all the obvious reasons. But people have talked about the deal like it’s done at times since December, and I know of negotiations with other parties that were still going on and knew enough other stuff to know the deal wasn’t done, and don’t know this isn’t just another person who heard about the talks, the presumption of where it was going and when, but it’s no more done then it’s been all along.”
A deal on TNT and/or TBS would bring wrestling back to those networks for the first time since WCW was purchased by WWE in 2001. WCW Monday Nitro was the flagship show on TNT for many years and NWA/WCW programming aired on TBS since the 1970s until the company closed.