Spike TV and Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling Tuesday (Aug. 18) agreed to a three-year extension of their partnership, which includes continued distribution of the wresting outfit's Thursday night series TNA Impact!.
The deal, which officially kicks in Oct. 1, also includes the development of a series of one-hour specials expected to air on Thursdays after TNA Impact!, according to Spike president Kevin Kay. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The extended partnership comes as the series comes on the heels of TNA's most-watched quarter ever on Spike, averaging more than 1.8 million viewers each week. The series has also increased viewership by 31% over the same period last year and has wrestled double-digit increases in Spike's target demos of men 18-49 and adults 18-49.
Kay said the TNA franchise has shown consistent ratings growth and has built appeal among Spike viewers since it launched in 2005, the same year wrestling rival World Wrestling Entertainment left Spike for USA Network.
"When we didn't renew with the WWE we always said we weren't going to be out of the wrestling business," Kay said. "TNA came in with an idea of providing more in ring action, which fit well with our brand, and we thought it was a franchise that we could help build. No other franchise on Spike has shown the growth that TNA has."
The new, unnamed TNA series, which will feature highlights from some of TNA's most recognizable stars including Nick Foley, Sting, and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, is one of several content additions TNA hopes to bring to Spike as part of the deal, according to TNA Entertainment president Dixie Carter.
"We're very excited to know that we have a long-term future with Spike," she said. "It's my goal and desire to have additional programming come from this deal as well ... I think you'll see more TNA programming on Spike in the coming years, which is very important for us."