During the post AEW Full Gear Media Scrum, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Tony Khan about the time slot for AEW Rampage. The show airs at 10 PM EST on Friday nights. Hausman asked Khan whether they’d like to move that show to a different time slot. Khan responded by defending Rampage’s time slot. He mentioned that if the slot ever changed, he would do his best to have a higher average than other shows.
“Isn’t it Nick a bit of an objective criteria?” Tony Khan said. “The numbers that we do are still one of the top shows. I think sometimes people think that the number that you do for Dynamite should be the exact number you do for Rampage, but it’s really an apples to oranges comparison.
“It’s frequently the number one show in its time slot and it’s beating everything we’ve faced head to head. Very often it’s been one of the top shows, if not the number one show a number of times even out of that time slot on all of Friday night TV. Frequently it’s in the top 4 or 5 so what we do out of that slot is very impressive. They’re really happy with the show, the fans they see if it doesn’t do as big a number as Dynamite to them it’s not as good. The fact is for the time slot it’s in, it’s performed really well and they’re really happy with it so I’m thrilled with it because it’s a great franchise for us. If it were ever to change and be in a different slot I would be the best I could in that slot too and whatever the standard is, if it were a slot where the averages were higher than we’d have to do a higher average. But the spot we’re in we do really really well. So yeah, it’s funny but the weeks that the Fast Nationals don’t leak it’s always a pretty good number, I wonder why. I wonder who leaks them. That’s subjective on their part. We all know what’s happening, I don’t think it’s particularly to their benefit.”
In October, Friday Night SmackDown aired on FS1 was extended by an extra 30 minutes to compete with AEW Rampage. While SmackDown had more viewers head-to-head, Rampage had the higher rating in the 18-49 demo. According to Khan, AEW Rampage won the 30 minutes of competition and the night. The AEW boss continued to talk about Rampage’s time slot and why he believes wrestling on a Friday night is a good idea no matter what time it airs.
“It’s done really well and ask the network in the slot how they feel about it,” Tony Khan mentioned. “It’s really good but I get that Dynamite is in a more attractive time slot and that’s also why I put so many awesome matches that would make Rampage a destination for a hardcore wrestling viewer no matter where they go. Even if they have to turn it on in somebody else’s house, in a bar, on their phone, you don’t want to miss Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston. You don’t want to miss Andrade vs. PAC 2, these are really special matches. Even trying to put something cool last night it was like a throwback to an old cruiserweight match with Dante and Arya where it’s two babyfaces but they were both from here.
“I definitely think it’s cool having wrestling on Friday nights even if it’s not the best time to draw viewers. There’s something to it, a lot of us grew up on that and it’s a great block and if you’re a wrestling fan that wants to watch everything, there’s a lot of great wrestling on Friday nights sometimes.”
Khan continued to talk about not wanting to move the time slot for Rampage and spoke about what 2021 will look like when AEW moves to TBS.
“No, I think it’s our time,” Tony Khan stated, when asked one final time if Rampage’s time slot would change. “Obviously going forward everybody knows Dynamite is going to move to TBS after January but Rampage is staying on TNT and as far as I know that’s the slot. Plus Battle of the Belts is coming in January too. Even though Dynamite is moving to TBS, we will actually have another show coming to TNT so it’s exciting.”
Khan also spoke about AEW’s success on the TNT app and other platforms like YouTube. The AEW President highlighted a major factor in the decrease in television viewership over the last few years as a reason why total television viewership is down across the board.
“It’s interesting because I don’t leak that stuff as much and after when it comes out, seven or six days so there is not really the story anymore,” Tony Khan noted. “For example, when we went head to head, a lot got made when we were doing the Friday and we were doing our show and found out there was a 30-minute window where we had competition head-to-head. We won the 30 minutes head-to-head in the demo and I found out that for the entire night for the plus-7s we won. Our 10 to 11 beat the entire 8 to 10:30. Not only did we win the head to head, straight up and with the plus-7s we also won the whole night which is interesting. At the end of the day we have to do good wrestling shows and for better or worse, in wrestling, the wrestlers win or lose but the companies live or die by these business metrics and fans are taught to judge and really care about them. I think it does matter, it mattered when I was young. Wasn’t the most important thing for the fans, we’re doing really really well and to have two shows that are consistently around the top 5 and top 10 and both have finished at number 1 multiple times, that is a really cool thing to do.
“A lot of people don’t know this, the wrestling business has done very well in the last 2 years when you consider there was a 9% decline in the last year in cable and satellite subscribers and a 9% decline the year before that. You’re down 18% from when we started, bear in mind all the numbers you’ve been looking at since AEW started and for everybody, the numbers are 18% less people in the world. Judge against the curve, that’s an important thing people don’t talk about and it’s also cool that Dynamite in that time has held up so well and actually had growth while the universe has declined 18%.”