Spike TV Pins TNA Deal

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. fare will depart this fall, but Spike TV evidently won’t go without grappling.

Sources close to the network said the men’s-targeted service is finalizing a deal with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (TNA) for a weekly late-night run.

Just two weeks ago, it appeared as if TNA was moving toward a pact with Superstation WGN, but sources said those negotiations broke down late last week.

Spike officials would say only that the network is in “continuing discussions” with the upstart pro-wrestling outfit. But sources said Spike is targeting a one-hour, late-Saturday-night time slot for TNA, which has been without a network outlet since its one-year agreement with FSN expired last month.

Under that deal, TNA leased time on FSN for its weekly Friday-afternoon series.

It’s unclear if TNA would pay Spike for carriage. Representatives from the organization could not be reached for comment by press time.

In April, Spike opted against renewing WWE’s highly rated Monday NightRaw franchise -- which will return to USA Network this fall -- in favor of upping its investment in original programming.

Spike has also made a major commitment to combat-sports outfit Ultimate Fighting Championship, renewing freshman reality series Ultimate Fighter and agreeing to run six live UFC events over the next two years. It will also telecast 26 one-hour episodes of a still-untitled series featuring classic footage of UFC events.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.