TNA’s Impact Wrestling on Thursday night on PopTV was watched by 359,000 viewers.
The program was main evented by Eddie Edwards' defense of the TNA World Title against former champion Bobby Lashley. It was the first episode of Impact since a Tennessee judge ruled on Monday that Billy Corgan couldn't take control of the company.
The viewership, reported by Showbuzzdaily, is a normal number for the show since its move from Tuesday to Thursday nights.
The average viewership for Impact since the move to Thursdays has been 345,688 viewers. "The Final Deletion" still holds the record as the most viewed episode of the show's run on PopTV. You have to go back to an Impact episode that aired on May 29, 2015 on Destination America to find an episode more highly-viewed.
TNA's time with PopTV has been somewhat rehabilitative to viewership. "The Final Deletion" episode and the move to Thursdays are likely explanations for Impact's marginal increase in viewers. Viewership in the 300,000 to 400,000 range, however is a far cry from the more than 1,000,000 Impact was often watched by on Spike. However Pop's president Bradley Schwartz gave an interview last May expressing his optimism for the wrestling program. He stated TNA has a "multi-year deal" with Pop.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Pop may have an option to get out of its contract with TNA in April 2017. Impact's current performance of about 350,000 viewers per episode may be good enough for Pop to consider the program a success versus whatever else the network might be able to put in its place. However one can't imagine Pop's executives opinion of the program has improved following the news of the Dixie-Billy lawsuit, which highlighted TNA's many debts and questionable business practices.
(Data sourced from gerweck.net.)
TNA's ratings on Spike peaked with the January 4, 2010 episode that featured the debut of Hulk Hogan. TNA's relationship with Spike ended as ratings declined and a scandal broke regarding Vince Russo secretly still working for the company after Spike executives insisted he not.
Challenge TV in the United Kingdom announced on Tuesday it would stop carrying Impact at the end of the year. While viewership on Challenge had improved in the last few months too, the viewership overall throughout Impact's entire run on the UK channel, beginning in April 2011, has declined.
The loss of its deal with Challenge leaves TNA for now with only two lucrative TV contracts: one with Sony Six in India and the other in Canada with the Fight Network whose parent company Anthem, Inc. recently bankrolled a set of TV tapings, saving the company from one of its many near-death experiences. Details of the recent litigation between Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan confirmed TNA's deal with Pop is for a share of ad revenue only, and TNA isn't paid rights fees by Pop.
TNA will likely be in the hunt for a new TV distributor in the UK. The program's declining ratings and the company's recurring flirtation with being unable to pay for tapings could make potential new partners hesitate or leverage a less beneficial deal for TNA.
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