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Spike, TNA To Rebrand Weekly Wrestling Series

In an effort to tout its pro wrestling product, Total Nonstop Action will rebrand its weekly primetime TNA Impact series to Impact Wrestling beginning with Thursday's episode, company officials said.

In addition, the Nashville-based TNA will launch a new tagline, "Wrestling Matters," which it says emphasizes the company's commitment to the wrestling category. As part of the rebrand, the company will launch several 30-second on-air and web spots featuring fans and TNT stars like Rick Flair discussing the impact pro wrestling has had on their lives, TNA chief marketing officer Al Ovadia told Multichannel News.

TNA's repositioning, which has been in the works for a year according to Ovadia, comes a month after TNA competitor WWE's rebrand effort, which he says positioned the company more as an entertainment company than a pro wrestling outfit.

"TNA is proud to be in the wrestling business, and not afraid to say it," said Ovadia. "To emphasize our commitment we have added the word ‘wrestling' to our already well-known ‘Impact brand."

The six-year old TNA Impact series has consistently pinned down strong ratings performances for Spike. The series  averaged 1.8 million viewers through first quarter 2011, up 9% over the same period last year, according to network officials.

"TNA is a proven ratings winner on Thursday nights for Spike, delivering a consistently large audience of hard-to-reach young men," said Brian Diamond, senior vice president, sports and specials for Spike TV. "We feel the new Impact Wrestling branding message will resonate with our audience who crave the action-packed wrestling that only TNA can provide."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.