Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
While Viacom, parent company of Spike TV, and TNA have both said they are still in negotiations, multiple sources have confirmed TMZ’s story to The Wrestling Observer that Spike informed Dixie Carter in a meeting that they were not interested in renewing the deal for Impact Wrestling.
Multiple sources report to The Wrestling Observer that there are two key reasons Spike doesn’t want to renew – they didn’t believe the product was cost effective for what they pay for it and the fact they were outright lied to about Vince Russo’s status with the company. TNA had already denied Russo working for them and when Russo meant to e-mail TNA employees but accidentally e-mailed Mike Johnson of PWInsider, TNA went into panic mode because Spike had made it clear they didn’t want Russo involved. We noted earlier today that Russo is once again done with TNA.
Spike TV reportedly wanted to make the situation as amenable as possible, which would be the opposite of what they did with WWE in 2005. Spike won’t be talking publicly about the deal or making any statements that would hurt TNA’s leverage. Apparently if TNA is able to land a new TV deal, Spike is willing to make the transition as smooth as possible. Even though TNA’s contract with Spike expires in two months, there’s been no word yet on a specific date that they will take TNA’s programming off the air.
There’s some speculation that Spike officials telling Dixie that they won’t be renewing the deal is just a hardball negotiating tactic, just like not having a deal this late is. Many people, including fans, point out that most major networks already have their fall primetime scheduled filled up. People in the TV industry do not believe that United Talent Agency, which has been representing TNA in negotiations, has a back-up plan. Within the TV industry, there is a lack of interest in pro wrestling due to the inability to get premium advertising revenue.
There’s also talk that Spike is willing to keep the show but wants to cut down on the licensing fees they pay. We’ve also noted that there’s speculation, even among industry experts like Jim Ross, that Spike could be looking to own their wrestling company by purchasing TNA, like they did with Bellator MMA.