As of this week, sources in the cable industry are indicating that an announcement regarding a deal between TNA Wrestling and Spike TV is expected very soon. Nothing has been officially signed between both parties yet and a press release has yet to be issued from Spike. However, talks are moving in a positive direction.
Earlier reports stated that a Saturday night timeslot at 11pm ET/10pm CT would be more likely, essentially replacing WWE Velocity in the fall. From what is understood at this time, neither TNA or Spike TV want to make an official announcement in regards to a timeslot too early. The reason for this is that some feel WWE and the USA Network would take the advantage to counter-program on Saturday night as well and run a more competitive show instead of a basic recap show of both brands.
Although nothing official has been said by those within TNA, the expected goal among many in the company is for the show to draw at least a 1.0 cable rating to make it worth their time. TNA is paying for their time on the network and are expected to either sign a 6 month contract or one year contract with Spike, with a year contract seeming more likely. With the target being that TNA draw at least more than a million viewers a week, they could in turn translate that into more monthly PPV buys that are in desperate need of a boost with no television to support it at this time. Panda Energy and The Carter Family are still dedicated to TNA and if they see some “window of opportunity” with this new television deal and more PPV buys, then they feel it could close the gap on losses.
If TNA does end up signing a deal with Spike TV for a scheduled October start time on a Saturday night timeslot, there are many things to consider and think about. If TNA was able to deliver a strong product and draw ratings in the 1.5 area, Spike would no doubt take notice and TV executives would be excited that they would have something to sell to advertisers. At that point, a partnership would form between TNA and Spike instead of them out right purchasing time on the network. This is similar to the deal that UFC has with Spike involving “The Ultimate Fighter” program. If TNA was to out draw what Velocity is currently garnering at the moment (which is in the 0.5 to 0.6 rating range), then Spike would take notice and continue to support the company. To those who don’t think TNA could draw better than WWE, it should be noted that this would be TNA’s only television outlet and would be their centerpiece program with big time storylines and matches, where as a Velocity program for WWE is a second-run B show with no importance. The real question is if TNA can draw a strong rating upon their debut and then build towards the 2.0 range were Spike would feel comfortable enough to give them a head-to-head timeslot against WWE RAW on Monday night’s. We will continue to cover this always developing situation.