Pro wrestling outfit TNA Entertainment has a new television partner in Destination America, after ending its nine-year association with Spike TV. The Discovery-owned channel will air TNA’s weekly flagship wrestling series Impact Wrestling on Fridays beginning Jan. 16, as well as other ancillary TNA programming. The same day as the first wrestling event was telecast on Destination America (Jan. 8), TNA president Dixie Carter spoke with programming editor R. Thomas Umstead prior to the company’s Television Critics Association presentation.
MCN: Why did TNA decide to go with Destination America as its exclusive distribution outlet?
Dixie Carter: We’re very excited about our global deal with Destination America. From the beginning of our negotiations with various cable networks, I thought it was very important to do something different. I wasn’t just interested in licensing a two-hour television show … we wanted to find a partner that would commit to growing the brand. Everything Discovery brings to the table — we’re getting cross-promotion for our Friday premiere from all of the Discovery networks as well as media buys, digital television exposure and print media – was what we were looking for. Also, Destination America is the network for people, places and the characters that build our country, and what is more American than professional wrestling?
MCN: Will Destination America’s airing of TNA’s weekly Impact Wrestling differ at all from what fans saw for years on Spike TV?
DC: Its’ a new era for us and I’m excited because we’re going to do a lot of new things with the show — we’re going to take a step back and look at it with fresh eyes. We’re not only looking to distinguish ourselves from our competitors, but we’re looking to see what we can do differently with new technologies and elements that have never been done with wrestling before, so I’m real excited about the future.
MCN: You mentioned your competitors. Other than the WWE, who else do you consider to be competition?
DC: I think everything is competition. It would be ridiculous if you didn’t recognize other entertainment programming as competition. As for other wrestling competitors, we’ve worked with different wrestling organizations from around the world and our roster marries what America is about. Wrestling represents different cultures and storylines — that’s why Destination America is a perfect fit for us.
MCN: Will you continue to offer TNA PPV events to supplement TNA’s weekly series on Destination America?
DC: PPV is changing dramatically every year so we’re going to re-evaluate our PPV strategy. We’ll do several PPV events this year but I want them to be big to satisfy those fans who put out their hard earned money to view the events. We’ll see where it will take us.