Upstart Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has finally pinned down a weekly basic-cable series slot with Fox Sports Net.
The organization, which currently offers a pay-per-view wrestling series, will distribute a Friday-afternoon weekly series beginning June 4 on FSN-affiliated regional sports networks, according toDixie Carter, president of TNA Entertainment LLC, parent company of the nearly two-year-old TNA Wrestling outfit.
The series will be filmed out of Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
"Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has continued to grow and exceed expectations over our history,” Carter said. “We are excited that this opportunity with FSN and Universal Studios Orlando will expose a wider range of viewers to our distinctive brand of professional wrestling."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources said TNA is buying the weekly Friday 3 p.m.-4 p.m. time slot on FSN.
While the organization offers a weekly syndicated show in several markets, Carter said the FSN deal will provide the network with significant exposure and serve as a promotional tool to promote its weekly Wednesday-night PPV events, which retail at a suggested price of $9.95.
The deal also marks the first non-World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. basic-cable series since 2001, when Turner Network Television carried World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Night Nitro. That same year, WWE -- then World Wrestling Federation Inc. -- purchased the WCW franchise from Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
Carter said the network is not competing with WWE, but rather it is offering an alternative for pro-wrestling fans. She added that while the show’s Friday-afternoon slot is significant for the organization, she hopes that a strong ratings performance will eventually elicit a primetime slot for the skein.
For FSN, the agreement marks its first venture into the pro-wrestling arena.
"Adding a weekly wrestling show continues to expand our programming base as we upgrade various national time slots for the network," executive vice president of programming and production George Greenberg said. "This one-hour show will bolster our Friday-afternoon schedule and provide another FSN destination for young viewers.”
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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.