AT&T announced earlier this week they were spinning off WarnerMedia, which will merge with Discovery. No one knows yet what that portends for AEW, which has a broadcast deal with WarnerMedia cable, and streams its quarterly events on their B/R Live platform in the United States.
But we did get some bombshell announcements about All Elite’s television future on Weds., May 19.
For one thing, Dynamite will move from TNT to TBS in January of next year. This is a consequence of the recent Turner Sports/NHL contract, as well as their existing one with the NBA.
Another big piece of news - the “third hour” that was promised when AEW and Warner extended their contract in 2020 was also finally announced. Rampage will premiere on TNT on Fri., Aug. 13. Before you get start screaming FRIDAY NIGHT WAR, know that the 60 minute show will air at 10 p.m. ET - so after WWE SmackDown ends on FOX. Rampage will move to TBS next year along with Dynamite.
AEW President Tony Khan is, of course, excited about the move. His quote in the press release also includes a third item from today’s bombshell:
“And, while we’re looking forward to our arrival on TBS, we’re not saying goodbye to our original and current home of TNT, which will air four new special supercard events annually. Plus, the financial upside to our new agreement will give us the opportunity to continue to invest in and grow AEW to serve the most important people in our industry: our fans, our wrestlers, our staff and our sponsors. With All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite and Rampage taking center stage via our new agreement on TBS next year, and the new quarterly supercards launching on TNT, our exposure and our opportunities to grow AEW are greater than ever!”
TBS, TNT and truTV General Manager Brett Weitz was more blunt, but naturally still bullish, when speaking about the channel move:
“Both TBS and TNT have an incredibly storied history with wrestling, so the idea of us being able to put more AEW onto TBS is a natural fit. Did the NHL have anything to do with it? Sure. NHL had something to do with it. NBA had something to do with it, the COVID schedule, the ton of preemptions.
“When we looked where the consumer’s gonna be, where wrestling fans were going to be, we want to give them the most opportunity to consume as many shows as possible. We felt TBS had an opportunity to be the network and the best platform for expansion.”
Interesting times, with the possibility of more change to come if/when the Discovery merger is approved and that management team takes charge.