Update On Warner Bros. Discovery Having Interest In WWE Programming
More information has come out about WBD potentially having an interest in airing WWE programming in the future.
There was a story earlier this week about how author James Andrew Miller believes that Warner Bros. Discovery would be interested in airing WWE programming when the company’s TV deals are up. The WWE TV deals for Raw on USA Network and Smackdown on Fox are set to expire in October 2024 after their five-year deals conclude.
What’s very interesting about the story is that WBD is the home of AEW’s TBS Dynamite and TNT Rampage shows with WBD also adding a third AEW show to the weekly scheduled that’s called Collision. The announcement for Collision is expected in mid-May.
It’s a complicated situation because part of Miller’s point was contingent on if WBD is going to retain the rights to NBA games on TNT, which has aired NBA games for over 20 years. Miller also speculated that a new WWE media rights buyer could also move Raw off Monday nights even though it’s been successful in that spot for over 30 years.
According to PWInsider Elite‘s Mike Johnson, “several top WWE Execs” inquired about if Miller’s comments were truthful while adding it could be discussed by WWE higher-ups behind closed doors.
As for AEW’s TV deals, Johnson reported that WBD and AEW’s deal lasts until the end of 2023. However, there is speculation that the WBD-AEW rights last until late 2024. Considering that WBD is launching Collision in June, it seems like they have a lot of confidence in AEW.
Since the current contract holders for Raw, NBCU has an exclusive window to try to make a bid to retain Raw while Smackdown has the same option for Smackdown. Meanwhile, Peacock has the “rights to distribute the WWE Network and the live WWE PPV events through 2026 as part of a five-year deal signed in January 2021.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Podcast, who has broken stories in the past, doesn’t think WBD airing WWE programming is likely.
“With the investment that WBD is making in AEW programming, I find it hard to believe that they are going to grab WWE.”
“I’m not saying he’s wrong, I’m sure somebody said they were interested. How could you not be interested if that property is available? But the reality of it ending up on a Warner property… I don’t think it’s very high. I personally don’t see it as very high. The person who is saying this to me is not seeing it as a very high possibility, but you have to be dumb to say ‘no I’m not interested.’”
Typically, a TV rights renewal like Endeavor/WWE are trying to do for Raw & Smackdown will usually happen around 18 months before the deal expires and we are around that time now, so it’s possible there is an announcement soon.
H/T Inside The Ropes for Zarian’s comments.