On Monday, Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com posted an exclusive interview with POP TV president Bradley Schwartz. POP TV did not mention TNA as part of its programming during the recent network upfronts, so Johnson asked about the current status of the company on their home network. This is what Schwartz had to say:
I've seen all the chatter as well and I've got to say, as someone who has spent my career in the pop culture space and I have a big music background and music TV background, so I know what the passion of fans is like and it is amazing the passion and I love it. I love the good, I love the bad and I love the ugly. It's amazing and I think it's the most passionate group of fans that I've ever come across. I absolutely love the passion that is out there, but you're right, sometimes people make assumptions or they hear something or read something and they pile on. So, to answer your question just point blank - our relationship with Impact is amazing. I love the show every Tuesday night. My relationship with [TNA President] Dixie [Carter] is very special and ultimately, I think the product that is going on the air every Tuesday night is the best wrestling product going. The characters, the ring action, it is amazing to watch. Obviously it's now part of my job to watch every week as I do with all of our original programming and I'm sucked in. Every single Tuesday I need to watch the show because I am sucked in and we're excited about it. It's the second highest rated show on our network. I don't know of too many people that are successful in television getting rid of the second highest rated show on their network. For us, we're excited. We have a long term deal with Impact and you know, until there are twenty different shows doing better than it, it's going to stay where it is for awhile.
When asked whether Impact will still be on POP TV in September, Schwartz did not mince words and gave a definitive answer in the affirmative.
Absolutely. Absolutely. We have a multi-year deal and we should probably address that one thing from the Upfronts announcement. What Upfronts are...Upfronts are not necessarily something for the public. It's an ad-sales driven event. It's where all the networks sell 70-90% of their ad inventory for the year, so the announcements you make at your Upfronts are really to support what your ad sales team is going out and selling and when it comes to Impact, because it's such a unique audience with a unique, live component or an alive component to it, there are sponsorship abilities to that that aren't just in ring sponsorships, show sponsorships and of course, advertising, it's kind of a 360 degree sell. We have, us and Impact, have a third-party company that is selling those integrations and those sponsorships and so it wasn't something that the POP ad sales team was out there in the marketplace doing. As far as the rest of our network, we kind of sell a women's 25-54 demo, we sell an adult 18-49 demo. We really needed a different company with a different client list and a different set of skills to sell 360 degree sponsorships and integrations as the real way to kind of drive some revenue, additional and incremental revenue. That's the only reason [Impact Wrestling] wasn't in our Upfronts release, because our team isn't selling it. From a programming standpoint, yes, it will be on the air. We aren't going to get rid of the second highest rated show on the Network.
So there you have it. The next shoe that needs to drop is the sale or partial sale of TNA, as even with POP TV's support, the company will need to be able to actually fund its television show. That is perhaps the more pressing aspect of the current state of TNA. It certainly sounds like they will be able to retain their home at POP TV if they can guarantee a new influx of cash.
You can read the full interview with Schwartz over at PWInsider.com.