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TNA talking with at least four networks, none of which are Spike TV

Despite what they say publicly, it looks like negotiations between TNA and Spike TV for a new contract have been dead for well over six weeks. Thankfully, at least four other networks are showing interest in procuring the future rights to air TNA Impact.

Spike TV to steal Lashley for Bellator from TNA?
Spike TV to steal Lashley for Bellator from TNA?

It's time for another update on where TNA's television negotiations currently stand. What we do know for certain is that TNA Impact will air on Spike TV until the end of the year, but where they end up after that is anyone's guess.

Almost as assuredly TNA won't stay where they are after their current grace period expires. Although TNA and Spike TV are still giving the public pretence that they are still in discussions about a new deal, the reality is that those conversations ended shortly before TMZ announced in late July that Spike TV intended to cancel Impact Wrestling, as reported by Dave Meltzer in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

"It is pretty much a lock, while nobody is saying it publicly, that TNA and Spike will part ways when this deal is up at the end of the year. As noted before, Spike was trying to be a good partner for TNA and give them until the end of the year to negotiate a new deal. While the public word is still both sides are in negotiations, the negotiations with Spike over a new deal ended several days before the TMZ story broke."

However, this was before TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley's debut for Bellator proved to be a big ratings hit for Spike TV drawing the peak audience of 885,000 viewers on a show with a deep line-up. There's clearly still value in Spike using TNA as a cross-promotional vehicle to draw eyeballs for their MMA brand, especially now that Bellator are running angles that would fit in all too well on an episode of Impact. Maybe that will make Spike TV think twice about kicking TNA to the kerb, but that seems doubtful, as their mind looks to be made up.

Meltzer went on to describe how TNA are in talks with at least four networks including Velocity (owned by Discovery Communications, available in less than half of U.S. households with a television) and WGN America (aired WWE Superstars from 2009-2011, available in 65% of households with a TV, deal could include pre-emptions). The two other interested parties weren't named, but both were more high profile stations than WGN America, one of which is an even stronger station than Spike TV but with demographics that would be less conducive for TNA programming.

Of course, as WWE found out earlier this year much to their chagrin, it's easy to get meetings with network executives, but it's much harder to get them to take you seriously and make you a concrete offer. Nevertheless, with so many possibilities still in play, it's hard to fathom that all of them are blowing smoke up Dixie Carter's derriere. Maybe, if she's lucky, two networks will bite and give her some negotiating leverage, so that TNA ends up with a TV deal not too much worse than the one they've got now.

As always Cagesiders, we'll have more on this story as it develops.

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