Warner Media Group, which operates Turner Sports (TBS, TNT), will reportedly be presenting AEW at their upfronts to advertisers next month, per the @fightoracle insider account, which bears an uncanny resemblance to MMA insider Front Row Brian’s now-suspended Twitter account.
Upfronts are where major television networks make presentations and preview their upcoming fall and midseason shows so that advertisers can purchase commercials on them ahead of time. The upfronts are held in the third week of May in New York, and Warner Media are currently scheduled to present on May 15th.
As we previously reported, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who signed a three-year deal with AEW earlier this month, recently told WFAN Radio in New York City that AEW will have a weekly two-hour live TV show that premieres in October. While Ross declined to provide any additional details, he did say that the AEW TV show will air on a major network that everyone will have access to.
“[AEW] is overwhelming for me,” Ross said. “To be 67 years old and be anointed the voice of a brand that’s gonna be debuting in October on national television on a major cable network, which can’t be named now. When people hear what network we’re going on, they’re gonna be doubly excited. It’s a network we can all find.”
During an interview with Wrestling Inc. in February, AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes told us that their potential deal could create a “massive shift in the pro wrestling industry.”
“I can’t talk about it but I know that I was quoted as saying, not by you guys, that ‘a TV deal was not important.’ And I think that in the context I was speaking, I was talking about how important social media and do-it-yourself brands are compared to the traditional TV median,” Rhodes explained. “But I also – let’s be serious, major TV is a huge thing. And it would be a massive shift in the pro wrestling industry. It would be a change-the-world-like move. But I can’t talk about any pending TV deals.
“A lot of the information that’s out there is very accurate about what we’re seeking to do and how frequently we’re seeking to do it,” Rhodes said. “But I don’t want to discourage any future partners. I can say that people have been really calculated about how we roll out announcements. We want to be proper. We can’t just stand on the podium in Jacksonville and say, ‘Hey, here’s the entire business model, here’s all of our plans, here’s x-amount of money.’ We can’t do that. I know the business of the business is very entertaining but I think if people put their trust in us like they have, we won’t let them down.”
Turner Sports has had a long history with professional wrestling, as Turner Broadcasting System purchased Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988, which was rebranded as WCW. WCW programming aired on TBS and TNT with WCW Monday Nitro on TBS going head-to-head with WWF Monday Night RAW from 1995 until the company was sold to WWE in 2001. Monday Nitro even surpassed RAW in the ratings for 83 consecutive weeks from 1996-1997.
Source: Wrestling Inc.