In a nod to Turner Sports’ growing live pro sports rights portfolio, TNT will move its Wednesday night AEW: Dynamite pro wrestling series to TBS beginning in January.
The series, which launched on TNT in 2019, will move to TBS in 2022 as TNT prepares to schedule NHL games as part of Turner Sports’ new seven-year NHL carriage deal announced last month, Brett Weitz, TNT, TBS and truTV general manager said in a Wednesday morning press call. Turner Sports also has a multi-year agreements with the NBA and Major League Baseball.
“The NHL had something to do with the move; the NBA had something to do with it,” he said. “When we looked to see where we believe the consumer is going to be and where wrestling fans are going to be, we wanted to give them the most opportunity to consume as many shows as possible. We thought TBS had an opportunity to be the network with the best platform for expansion.”
In the interim, TNT beginning Aug. 13 will launch a new weekly wrestling series, AEW: Rampage. In addition the network will launch four AEW-themed wrestling specials annually. AEW: Dynamite has performed well for TNT in its Wednesday timeslot -- on May 5 the show for the first time was the most watched series on cable that night among adults 18-49.
Weitz ruled out the potential of converting one of the three networks to an all sports channel in the future despite an increase in sports rights acquisitions. “I don’t think it makes sense to rebrand at this point,” he said. “We have to keep these networks vibrant with a lot of original and acquired content.”
Weitz also made the argument for the value of traditional linear television in the wake of increased audience usage of digital content. “When you think of the tonnage of audiences that flow through these networks, that’s big platform to deliver to a consumer,” he said. “I know that SVOD is the future and that’s the growth engine, but these businesses right now have so much in them to continue to deliver to a consumer in the right way.”
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