By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW issued the following press release on Wednesday to announce that they have extended their television agreement with TNT through 2023.
Pasadena, January 15, 2020 – WarnerMedia announced today an expanded relationship with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the groundbreaking new wrestling league that has already redefined wrestling with resounding success after only a few months. WarnerMedia has extended their deal for AEW: DYNAMITE, a top 20 new cable unscripted series, through 2023. In addition, the parties have agreed to launch another night of AEW action, offering more of the fans’ favorite wrestlers, with a second show straight-to-
“When Tony Khan first shared with me his idea of starting a new wrestling league, I was impressed by his audacity to go up against a contender that has been the only game in town for twenty years, and ultimately believed that together we could bring his vision for a new, authentic, gritty product to bear,” says Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “The fans have spoken and after only three months, we have seen AEW shake up the wrestling world and this will only continue as we build upon this momentum.”
AEW: DYNAMITE exploded onto the wrestling scene when it premiered on TNT as the night’s #1 wrestling show. It has continued to deliver high performing episodes each week with the series averaging 1.2M total viewers and 654K A18-49 per episode in Live +7 Day viewing. In only three months, AEW: DYNAMITE has reached nearly 32 million people across all platforms. The show also delivers the youngest wrestling audience on television.
“When we launched AEW one year ago, we wanted to start a revolution that would disrupt the wrestling business, but everyone said that it would take a strong weekly television partner to make AEW real in the eyes of everyone – above all, the fans,” said Tony Khan, president and CEO of AEW. “What virtually no one realized at the time was Kevin Reilly and TNT were committed to this very same movement from Day One, and their belief in us made it possible for AEW to think and act big from the start. Here we are, only three months into Wednesday Night Dynamite, and now we’ve been extended through 2023! We’re now making the ultimate statement that the team of AEW and TNT is here to stay and to bring fans more of the great wrestling that the fans demand and deserve.”
Weekly action-packed matches continue to air live on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET as part of TNT’s line-up of big, lean-forward television that gives viewers the best seat in the house for electrifying stories, dynamic characters and thrilling events. A global franchise, AEW has already secured broadcast deals in the UK, Canada, France and Germany and is available in over 100 other countries through the
AEWPlus.com subscription service. Both parties are continuously exploring ways to further expand this relationship.
WarnerMedia announced in May 2019 that it was working with AEW by utilizing its position as a next-generation global media company to help build this league into a global pro-wrestling franchise. WarnerMedia has also been offering fans exclusive access to AEW’s extremely popular pay-per-view matches, which kicked off in May 2019, via B/R Live. Their next event, REVOLUTION, which takes place in Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 29, will also stream on the platform. With nearly 100,000 total AEW pay-per-view buys, B/R Live’s high fan engagement provides an invaluable opportunity to build AEW’s audience and maximize its viewership.
In addition to being a ratings success, AEW has earned a great deal of praise from a wide range of press. Newsweek called it ”One of the best shows of 2019,” and four of AEW’s wrestlers were named in Sports
Illustrated’s Top 10 wrestlers of 2019, with Jon Moxley being named “Wrestler of the Year.” The Washington Post also wrote that “AEW… is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to present pro wrestling differently, with a focus on diversity and inclusion in the ring, in the front office and in the audience.” USA Today referred to the league as the “new cool kids,” and the New York Post stated that AEW: DYNAMITE “showcased the superb in-ring action it’s known for.” Complex heralded AEW: DYNAMITE’s presentation as “top notch” and /Film wrote that “AEW is the best and most refreshing professional wrestling has been in years.”
AEW is a new global wrestling league that features a world-class roster of diverse male and female wrestlers, giving fans a new wrestling experience for the first time in 20 years. AEW is about more than wrestling. It’s a movement fueled by fans. Focused on fast-paced, high-impact competitions, AEW offers fans more athleticism along with real sports analytics. Founded by President and CEO Tony Khan, AEW is headlined by Cody & Brandi Rhodes, Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page. The roster is also filled with incredibly skilled competitors including Nyla Rose, Awesome Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Jungle Boy, Dr. Britt Baker, MJF, Pac and SCU. In addition to being in-ring talent, Cody, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega also serve as
EVPs with Brandi Rhodes serving as Chief Brand Officer.
Powell’s POV: Without knowing the financial terms of the deal, the commitment from TNT is obviously great news for AEW and its longevity. The second night of programming that was mentioned is interesting. Will the AEW Dark series move to TNT? Will it be a Talking Smack-like studio show, which had some buzz at one point? Will it be something entirely different?