TNT and WarnerMedia will be in the professional wrestling business for at least four additional years with the news that All Elite Wrestling’s deal has been extended through 2023.
A press release was issued by WarnerMedia announcing the extension along with the addition of a second series that will air on one of WarnerMedia’s properties.
WarnerMedia announced today an expanded relationship with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the groundbreaking new wrestling league that has already redefined wrestling with resounding success after only a few months. WarnerMedia has extended their deal for AEW: DYNAMITE, a top 20 new cable unscripted series, through 2023. In addition, the parties have agreed to launch another night of AEW action, offering more of the fans’ favorite wrestlers, with a second show straight-to-
“When Tony Khan first shared with me his idea of starting a new wrestling league, I was impressed by his audacity to go up against a contender that has been the only game in town for twenty years, and ultimately believed that together we could bring his vision for a new, authentic, gritty product to bear,” says Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “The fans have spoken and after only three months, we have seen AEW shake up the wrestling world and this will only continue as we build upon this momentum.”
AEW: DYNAMITE exploded onto the wrestling scene when it premiered on TNT as the night’s #1 wrestling show. It has continued to deliver high performing episodes each week with the series averaging 1.2M total viewers and 654K A18-49 per episode in Live +7 Day viewing. In only three months, AEW: DYNAMITE has reached nearly 32 million people across all platforms. The show also delivers the youngest wrestling audience on television.
Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the extension is worth $175 million and works out to just under $44 million per year, which Meltzer adds will make AEW profitable this year ‘and beyond’. There is also an option for 2024 at a significantly increased price.
The additional hour of programming will be separate from AEW Dark, which continues to air on the promotion’s YouTube channel and will continue to be taped on Wednesdays. This will lead to AEW producing four hours of content on a weekly basis once the new show is introduced.
AEW President Tony Khan was quoted in the release stating:
When we launched AEW one year ago, we wanted to start a revolution that would disrupt the wrestling business, but everyone said it would take a strong weekly television partner to make AEW real in the eyes of everyone — above all the fans. What virtually no one realized at the time was Kevin Reilly and TNT were committed to this very same movement from Day One, and their belief in us made it possible for AEW to think and act big from the start. Here we are, only three months into Wednesday Night Dynamite and now we’ve been extended through 2023! We’re now making the ultimate statement that the team of AEW and TNT is here to stay to bring fans more of the great wrestling that the fans demand and deserve.
AEW officially formed in January 2019 following the success of the All In pay-per-view in September 2018. The company was bolstered with the signing of Chris Jericho, who joined the likes of Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Cody Rhodes among others. In the spring of 2019, they announced their deal with TNT that would place the promotion on Wednesday nights with the cable network that aired WCW Monday Nitro from September 1995 until the promotion’s closure in March 2001.
The company has a modest pay-per-view schedule with four major shows per year as their current plan. Their next major show is the ‘Revolution’ card on Saturday, February 29th from Chicago.
In September, NXT began airing on Wednesday nights on the USA Network going head-to-head with AEW Dynamite, with their first night of competition taking place on October 2nd.
On that night, the premiere edition of Dynamite attracted 1,409,000 viewers on TNT compared to NXT’s average audience of 891,000 viewers. The competition has been competitive, although AEW has routinely outdrawn NXT in total viewership and among the 18-49 demographic.
NXT was able to best AEW in total viewers on the November 27th episode by a margin of 810,000 viewers to 663,000, although AEW still won the 18-49 demo. NXT got a clear win on December 18th in both viewers and the main demo.