Why Warner Bros Discovery situation is considered to be “not good news at all” for AEW

Warner Bros Discovery, the company that owns TBS and TNT, is expected to slash jobs and restructure HBO Max in the coming months. During Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnine.com discussed how budget cuts will possibly affect AEW…

“Really the biggest stuff is the WBD (Warner Bros Discovery) news which, if you’re an AEW fan, the last two days… not good news at all. We knew that they were gonna do a slashing of the budgets, but it really feels like TNT is – whatever is the prestige programming that TNT had – that’s going to be out the window and, I just have this feeling aside from the NBA, that TNT’s just gonna be another station on cable as opposed to… and TBS, which were kind of like cable powerhouses. It looks like they just wanna slash things, and CNN too for that matter.”

“They’re slashing everything. HBO Max is… I guess they’re gonna merge it but a lot of the executives at HBO Max are gonna be gone. A lot of the budget from HBO Max is probably gonna be down. They’re really trying to cut a lot of money, and they know that the one thing that they feel they have to keep, which is gonna cost them a lot of money, is the NBA. So it’s going to be very interesting to see… it’s probably the worst time possible to go in there and ask for a big raise now. It’s going to be very interesting.”

“I don’t see AEW being canceled. Most weeks it is the most popular show, unless it’s during NBA season, it’s the most popular show on either TNT or TBS, so you’re not gonna cut your highest rated show. I mean it’s possible, I’ve seen it happen, but it’s probably not gonna happen. But as far as giving (AEW) a big increase in rights (fees), they’re really going to have to find outside bidders, and then that becomes problematic because if you go to a weaker station, your numbers aren’t gonna look as good. One of the great things about being on TBS is, especially coming off of Big Bang Theory, you’ve got a good lead-in, you’ve got a station that people actually watch. It’s not like one of these stations that has a very very low viewership.”

“Really, where they are positioned is probably about as good a positioning as you could get for the show. The only thing that would be better where they would do better would be if they were on ESPN, and that wouldn’t be better because, number one, ESPN hasn’t done pro-wrestling in a long long time and they probably don’t have an interest in doing it, but even if they did… I mean I guess they did show some WWE stuff during the pandemic, but really that was just a short-term thing, they didn’t follow up on that. But obviously you’d be preempted constantly, so it just would not be a good fit.”

“This station is the perfect fit for AEW, but at the same time, you want to… the key way the company’s gonna be able to make money is through television rights, and if you want to make it a profitable company and your parent company is slicing budgets everywhere, and in ways that people do not expect it, such as stopping movies in production, stopping TV shows in production – it’s been a bloodletting there. And there’s probably still more to come. So the timing for AEW with their deal coming up which would be at the end of next year – the last two days haven’t looked good if you’ve been following the story, at all.” (quotes courtesy of WrestleTalk.com)