Thursday, 16 September 2010

What now for TNA programming in the UK & Ireland?

The morning after the night before… what a shocker yesterday evening eh? Sky TV announce the closure of it’s recently purchased Bravo and Channel One channels, leaving TNA iMPACT! without a home in the UK & Ireland. So what now for TNA iMPACT?

Well first off we must take into consideration that TNA re-signed with Bravo/Living TV group on a long term deal not that long ago in January 2010. As the incumbent Sky MUST honor this contract or buy out the remainder of the deal. With this in mind i thought it would be interesting to take a look at the possible realistic locations for iMPACT! should BSKYB choose to retain the programming.

Sky One: In the statement issued by BSkyB following the announcement of the closures, the similarities between Bravo and Sky One were cited as reasoning behind it's closing. Therefore it would be safe to assume that Sky One would be considered for any former Bravo programming set for re-location. However, Sky One is currently (and has a long history of) broadcasting WWE programming on the channel in the form of Superstars, Smackdown and WWE Experience. The much rumoured "WWE Exclusivity Clause" would likely make this channel a no-go for TNA Programming. Verdict: No Chance

Sky2: Sister channel of Sky One but with the obvious distinction of NOT currently broadcasting WWE programming in any form. It's not clear whether the rumoured "WWE Exclusivity Clause" is legitimate or simply a work of fiction courtesy of the Internet Wrestling Community, however if it was indeed real, then it also needs to be established as to whether this covers ALL Sky branded channels or simply those which currently broadcast WWE programming. Should it be the latter then there's a possibility of TNA iMPACT! finding a home here. Verdict: Possibility

Sky3: Similar to the aforementioned Sky2, this channel does not currently broadcast any WWE programming. Additionally it has been stated that this is a likely spot for relocation of programming from Channel One and Bravo, so this is a realistic landing spot for TNA iMPACT!. Add to that the fact that the channel currently broadcasts the likes of Gladiators and this could be considered a good fit for the show. Important to note that this channel is the first Sky channel to be available via Freeview, opening the channel and its programming up to a huge target audience, ideal for increasing TNA's exposure in the UK.
Verdict: Strong Possibility
Living TV: Living TV is the only Virgin media/LivingTV Group channels that wasn't cut following the acquisition by BSkyB. The channel does have a history of broadcasting Pro Wrestling back in a former incarnation, however it's key demographic these days is female viewers and they have no similar programming on the network. All in all I don't see any possibility of the program landing here. Verdict: Highly Unlikely

Challenge: What, the game show network? Yes, that very one. The channel is reportedly about to undergo a facelift and has been given some cash by BSkyB to acquire new programming to fuel the rebrand. The channel has already concluded deals for the likes of Gladiators and Ninja Warrior, programs with the same target demographics as TNA. The channel has no WWE related programming and is not "Sky" branded, therefore it must be considered as a possibility. Verdict: Strong Possibility

Overall then it would appear the likely destinations are Sky2, Sky3 or Challenge TV. Should Sky cut the deal entirely then I would put my money on the Extreme Sports Channel picking up the program. Nonetheless, I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I would hope Sky would at least give the program a chance, TNA fans have proven time and again they'll show up in large numbers and reward them should they be willing to simply give it a chance on one of their networks.

Until next time, See you around,


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