After a strong week of television tapings featuring returns, debuts, and international deals, the old television network for Impact Wrestling could its home once again.
According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, the recently returned Jeff Jarrett met with Spike TV’s senior vice president and executive producer, Scott Fishman, about potentially bringing Impact back to the network. While Satin writes several topics were discussed, it was a U.S. return to the network that was a key point of the conversation.
Fishman, who was promoted to SVP in 2012, has previously been a key figure in the development of not just Impact Wrestling but other combat sports networks on Spike TV, per a press release.
“Most notably, Fishman was instrumental in developing TNA’s “Impact Wrestling” into a highly-rated series on Thursday nights and one of the network’s signature shows. He also served as Executive in Charge of Production for network’s high-profile franchises including The Ultimate Fighting Championships and The Video Game Awards. In 2011, Fishman took the reigns as Executive Producer of Bellator Fighting Championships for Viacom Media Networks, and has been a driving force in enhancing the production values of the weekly events.”
Since leaving Spike TV in 2014, Impact has struggled to maintain the strong viewership it once had. Wrestling Inc compiled statistics for Impact Wrestling’s viewership on it’s first and last episodes on Spike TV and Destination America.
Oct 1, 2005: 670,000 (-62 percent) for Spike TV premiere
Nov 19, 2014: 980,000 (-74 percent) for last first-run episode on Spike TV
Jan 7, 2015: 359,000 (-29 percent) for Destination America premiere
Jan 16, 2015: 387,000 (-34 percent) for debut on Friday nights on Destination America
Jun 3, 2015: 297,000 (-14 percent) for debut on Wednesday nights on Destination America
Impact Wrestling drew 255,000 viewers on the premiere episode on Pop TV in early 2016. According to Gerweck, Impact Wrestling averaged 310,800 viewers in 2016, never eclipsing more than 377,000 viewers in any one week. Compare that 2006, Impact Wrestling’s first full year on Spike TV in 2006, the company averaged a 0.89 rating, hovering in the 1.0-1.2 range for most of the year.
It should help Impact Wrestling’s case that the promotion will appear on Spike’s United Kingdom channel starting later this year.
Impact Wrestling’s parent company Anthem announced last Tuesday a partnership with Spike UK to air content later this spring.
“From Spring 2017, IMPACT Wrestling, TNA pay-per-views, including One Night Only specials will be available on Spike UK, and TNA Xplosion exclusive to My5, which is part of the Channel 5 stable available on Sky TV (160), Freeview (31), Freesat (141), Virgin Media (154) and other DTT platforms.”
“New episodes of IMPACT Wrestling will premiere on Friday nights, quenching the appetite of U.K. fans to view IMPACT Wrestling within hours of the US premiere broadcast.”
During this week’s tapings, former WWE Champion Alberto El Patron (Del Rio), Dutch Mantel (Zeb Colter), Bruce Prichard, Karen Jarrett, and several other names returned in various capacities. As the company looks to expand both its talent roster and popularity around the world, returning to the network where most of its success happened would be a crucial step.
It would also follow the blueprint set out by executive vice president of Anthem Sports and Entertainment, Ed Nordholm, when they acquired the rights to Impact Wrestling.
“We are thrilled to have acquired TNA Impact Wrestling. As we grow Anthem’s linear, digital and mobile platforms globally, top tier content with global appeal is key to that success and this acquisition is a perfect strategic addition to our portfolio. Impact has been a dominant wrestling brand around the world for more than a decade and we are confident that Anthem can leverage its assets and strategic partnerships to take Impact Wrestling to even greater heights.”
[Featured Image by Impact Wrestling]