Tony Maglio of The Wrap appeared on the 411 Wrestling Interviews podcast to discuss AEW's possible TV deal with Warner Media Group, which operates Turner Sports (TBS, TNT). Turner is one of the top media outlets that is in talks with AEW regarding a potential deal.
Maglio reported on The Wrap last week that Turner is in "advanced talks" with AEW for a weekly TV show that would likely air on TNT. The report stated that the deal is "definitely not signed" and the talks are "pretty complex" and "not imminent." It was also noted that the AEW TV show might not be year-round, suggesting that an off-season for the promotion could be likely.
During Maglio's appearance on 411 Wrestling Interviews, he stated that AEW's deal would likely involve the company paying for their time slot.
"As excited as people are, they have cool t-shirts and a cool roster, you know, but they're unproven, let's be realistic," Maglio said. "My understanding based on the people I've spoken to is that it would be more AEW paying for its time on TNT than Turner paying AEW for its show. Another very good wrestling reporter and I had been talking about whether that would be the case or whether it would be a revenue share, and we'd both heard rumblings and talked to people.
"Maybe a couple of months ago it might have been a little bit of a different story. But the truth is, when you're talking to Turner, [they're] a very well-established, very well-off company inside of gigantic parent company…it's not the UFC. It's not WWE, it's not MLB. They have MLB, they have NBA. They know what they have to pay for. And I think currently, AEW has way more to prove than Turner has in terms of trying to get them to come to their networks. I think AEW needs this deal more than Turner does."
Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter took to their message board to dispute the story. According to Meltzer, the time buy story is false and one of the reasons that AEW has not secured a television deal yet is "because of multiple bidders."
"One hour is false. Time buy is false," Meltzer wrote. "It's the exact opposite. Look at sports rights, Bellator, Matchroom, UFC on ESPN, people are offering tons of money both for weekly live programming and also to get their streaming services starting. That's the reason this thing is starting this year.
"One of the reasons the deal hasn't been signed yet is because of multiple bidders."
According to a recent report from Prowrestling.net, Showtime is also in talks with AEW regarding a deal.
Maglio responded to Meltzer on Twitter, however he didn't address his assertion that AEW would be paying for their time slot. Instead, he responded to Meltzer stating that a "one hour" deal is false, noting that he was simply stating his opinion. He also addressed Meltzer shooting down last week that AEW programming would be seasonal, noting that AEW themselves had publicly discussed that option.
"Never said AEW show would be 1 hour," Maglio tweeted. "Said 1 hour makes more sense than 3 when asked if it'd be a 3 hour show. We all assume 2. Dave also apparently made a thing out of me reporting that a source on Turner talks said not doing 52 weeks is a possibility. You know who has also said an off-season is a 'possibility'? AEW.
"Many things are possible when a deal is not signed. I've also said multiple times an off season would be problematic and my personal opinion is that it'll be 52 weeks/year.
"Job is to report what told by sources."
You can check out Maglio's tweets below:
Oh this is about me. Never said AEW show would be 1 hour. Said 1 hour makes more sense than 3 when asked if it'd be a 3 hour show. We all assume 2. Dave also apparently made a thing out of me reporting that a source on Turner talks said not doing 52 weeks is a possibility. https://t.co/2HCp1EGpJr— Tony Maglio (@TonyMaglio) April 19, 2019
You know who has also said an off-season is a "possibility"? AEW.— Tony Maglio (@TonyMaglio) April 19, 2019
Many things are possible when a deal is not signed. I've also said multiple times an off season would be problematic and my personal opinion is that it'll be 52 weeks/year.
Job is to report what told by sources. https://t.co/i0Gb3kYDba