TMZ is reporting that Nashville-based TNA Wrestling has been informed by Spike TV that its premiere show, Impact, will not be renewed when its contract is up in October.
A Spike spokesman told Post Sports "we don't comment on ongoing negotiations," which at least insinuates that it's not necessarily a done deal (or that it's a deal not ready for public consumption). TNA did not return a request for comment.
Spike has aired Impact since 2005 and while the promotion has had some success — it averages about 1 million viewers per week — it's failed to make much of dent in industry leader WWE. (TNA is reasonably popular and even competitive with the WWE in certain overseas markets, though, particularly in Europe and south Asia.)
Despite rising new competition from former TNA impresario Jeff Jarrett, who launched his own Global Force Wrestling this spring and already has partnerships with some of the top overseas promotions (such as New Japan and Mexico's AAA), TNA is still regarded as the clear No. 2 wrestling promotion in the U.S. (Of course, you could drive a billion Andre the Giants in the hole between 1 and 2.)
From recently retired WWE announcer (and hopefully future Fox Soccer play-by-play man) Jim Ross:
Obviously, this is a blow to TNA but they have a weekly audience of approximately 1M viewers which will interest some cable networks. The question is can TNA negotiate a deal that will financially keep them in business in today's entertainment world with this quick turnaround?
WWE got less of a rights fee from NBC/Universal to stay on the USA Network than many predicted so one could assume another cable entity might not be willing to pay top dollar for TNA with the current perception that broadcasters apparently have regarding the genre.
One would assume/hope TNA finds a new cable home and they move their fan base with them. If not, Viacom's Spike Network is in the same position TBS was in when Jim Crockett Promotions found themselves in financial duress. TBS bought out JCP and WCW aired on TBS & TNT for years. The question is does Viacom want to own a pro wrestling franchise to go with their newly acquired MMA franchise Bellator?