Turner is in advanced talks with upstart professional wrestling league AEW (All Elite Wrestling) for a weekly television show likely on TNT, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap.
However, the insider said the deal is “definitely not signed.” Several wrestling blogs reported Wednesday night that the agreement between AEW and Turner, which is now owned by AT&T, is a done deal.
The conversations surrounding the deal are “pretty complex” and “not imminent,” the individual said. While having a pact to announce by Turner’s mid-May upfront — an annual event where TV platforms debut their new programming to potential advertisers — would be ideal, it is not a definite.
Though a weekly episode AEW series would likely be destined for TNT, the Shahid Khan-backed league will probably have a multiplatform existence. Turner’s B/R Live is the most sensible outpost for the sports entertainment overflow.
It is possible that the AEW series would not be year-round. That would likely be a combination of the newness of the league and its desire to be more wrestler-friendly than rival WWE, which has a punishing schedule for talent.
A Turner Sports rep and an AEW spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
AEW has only had one big show to date, but its growing roster is impressive. Founded by wrestlers Cody (Rhodes, pictured above) and tag-team The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), the company has signed Chris Jericho, Pac (formerly Neville in WWE) and Kenny Omega to wrestle, among others, and WWE legend Jim Ross on commentary.
AEW’s next big event is May 25’s Double or Nothing in Las Vegas, which takes place after Turner’s upfront.
Though AEW is still unproven, a weekly wrestling show with a hot company would be a solid get for the WarnerMedia cable brand. Its primary competitor, USA Network, currently airs WWE’s “Raw” on Mondays and “SmackDown Live” on Tuesdays. However, “SmackDown” is heading to Fox’s broadcast network this fall, when it will switch to Fridays.