The NHL factored into the decision to move AEW programming from TNT to TBS in 2022.
As noted earlier, WarnerMedia announced today that a new AEW Rampage show will premiere on Friday, August 13. The one-hour show will air each Friday night at 10pm ET. It was also announced that AEW Dynamite and Rampage will move to TBS beginning in 2022. While the two AEW TV shows will air on TBS moving forward in 2022, TNT will continue to air 4 AEW “supercard specials” per year. You can click here to read comments from AEW and WarnerMedia officials, including AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan.
In an update, Tony Maglio of The Wrap reported on how AEW moving to TBS opens the door for NHL games to air Wednesday nights on TNT. This comes after Turner recently acquired some pro hockey rights for next season, but no announcement has been made.
Brett Weitz, the General Manager of TBS, TNT and truTV, confirmed to The Wrap that the NHL had something to do with the AEW changes, but not just the pro hockey league.
“Sure, NHL had something to do with it,” Weitz said. “The NBA had something to do with it. The new college schedule, with a ton of preemptions. And so we look to where we believe the consumer is going to be and where wrestling fans are going to be.
“We want to give them the most opportunity to consume as many shows as possible. We felt TBS had an opportunity, really, to be the network and the best platform for expansion.”
Primetime hockey has traditionally occupied Wednesday nights on the NBC Sports Network, which recently shut down. There had been recent speculation on WWE NXT moving to Tuesday nights on the USA Network due to the NHL possibly airing on USA, but WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan recently dismissed that idea.
Regarding the new AEW Rampage show, The Wrap notes that with NBA games airing on Tuesdays and Fridays on TNT, the plan has always called for the new one hour of AEW programming to not be paired with the weekly two-hour Dynamite show. While Rampage will premiere on Friday, August 13 at 10pm ET on TNT, it has not been determined it Rampage will remain on Friday nights when AEW programming moves to TBS in 2022.
The Wrap also reported that the “supercard events” is a term that Khan came up with. Those 4 specials will air on TNT each quarter, even after Dynamite and Rampage move to TBS. It was noted that these will be similar to pay-per-view events.
It appears the new expanded agreement between AEW and WarnerMedia will also bring a financial boost to the pro wrestling company. Khan’s full quote from the WarnerMedia press release mentions a “financial upside” to the new agreement, which will give AEW the opportunity to continue to invest and grow.
“As a lifelong wrestling aficionado who is privileged to present AEW to longtime and new fans alike, it means a lot to me – personally and professionally – to share the news that All Elite Wrestling will call TBS home beginning in 2022,” Khan said in the press release. “The history of wrestling in the United States cannot be told without acknowledging the contributions of TBS, which as WTBS years ago delivered wrestling to the Southeast and eventually to a massive national audience. TBS has the same passion for wrestling today, but will offer AEW and our fans more prime time programming, content and global opportunities that will establish TBS as the world’s undisputed destination for wrestling.
“And, while we’re looking forward to our arrival on TBS, we’re not saying goodbye to our original and current home of TNT, which will air four new special supercard events annually. Plus, the financial upside to our new agreement will give us the opportunity to continue to invest in and grow AEW to serve the most important people in our industry: our fans, our wrestlers, our staff and our sponsors. With All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite and Rampage taking center stage via our new agreement on TBS next year, and the new quarterly supercards launching on TNT, our exposure and our opportunities to grow AEW are greater than ever!”
Stay tuned for more on AEW TV.