The Jarretts' TNA Wrestling promotion has been on Spike TV since 2005. It is arguably the centerpiece of the SpikeTV lineup, as wrestling shows tend to be when there's nothing else worth mentioning on the network. Despite the promotion's growing popularity, it can't seem to really get over the hump as far as ratings are concerned. Now, I can't say much about the actual product, but I can say a quite a bit about the retarded network they're on. From what I do know about TNA's actual show, there's no reason why they shouldn't consistently pull down higher ratings than they do. So why is TNA still pulling 1.0's, despite having a roster of extremely popular wrestlers?
Impact airs on Thursday Nights.
Sure, let's put our minor-league wrestling show on the most stacked night of the week. Listen, if I was a TV executive, I wouldn't put a show on Thursday nights even if it had the backing of a real network. That's the night that's only for the best of the best, so please don't think that people are gonna stop watching "ER" to watch a show that's three steps away from the indys. It's not 1999 anymore and people aren't dying for more wrestling. The reason why it worked for Smackdown is because A:) Everyone knew the WWF. B:) Wrestling was peaking at the time. C:) They had the backing of a major network (in comparison to SpikeTV, UPN was major). D:) Stone Cold and The Rock. Point being, Thursday is a brutal night. Hell, WCW Thunder was wholly owned by the company that ran the network it was on, and it only lasted a year and some change on Thursdays.
SpikeTV won't promote the show outside of Impact.
This one is the killer, and this one is the reason why Spike had an open slot for wrestling to begin with. When Raw came to TNN back in 2000, it was by far the highest rated show on cable. It was pulling 6's and 7's in a format that's doing well to get 4's. And from the minute it went to TNN, the ratings dropped by two points and stayed there. Now, sure, by the time they left TNN, the show was complete crap, but at the time, it was still hot. WWF Superstars were still seen everywhere and the Monday Night Wars were still going on. Wrestling was still must-see-TV. So what happened to those two ratings points? Less people had TNN than USA, sure, but those who did barely knew that Raw was even on TNN.
I don't know where TNN learned how to promote, but clearly it wasn't from people who ran good networks, because the only time a commercial for Raw was ever seen by these eyes was DURING Raw, which is really, really retarded. Why are you going to promote the show that they're already watching? If this had been NBC, you would have seen commercials during every show they had, which is what they do for shows they expect to be big. They call that "promotion," back in the old country. For instance, how many times a day do you see a commercial for "My Own Worst Enemy?" I'll bet that everyone knows that Christian Slater has a show coming out.
But TNN didn't do that for Raw, TNN didn't do that for ECW before it, and SpikeTV isn't doing that for Impact. When Raw was peaking on USA, you saw commercials for it everywhere and you saw their wrestlers everywhere. TNA Wrestlers aren't even featured outside their own show. Hell, even Sci-Fi saw the wisdom in having CM Punk on that ghost show. Is it helping? I don't know, because, fuck fake ECW. But at least they're trying.
Thing is, if the biggest promotion on the planet was losing viewers, with their biggest stars, DURING THEIR PEAK, on this network, what chance does an fledgling promotion like TNA have?
Spike TV is listed at the end of everyone's channel run.
This might not be true, but i know everywhere I've seen SpikeTV, it's always channel 78 or something like that, which basically assures that no one will EVER see it while channel surfing. I don't know about anyone else, but my finger gets tired somewhere around ESPN (46, 47). I know that everything after that is Lifetime, Oxygen, and crap like that, so I skip straight to Comedy Central (68) and then back to the beginning. I honestly keep forgetting that I even have SpikeTV.
Bottom line, I don't think TNA will ever succeed on SpikeTV, because they just don't care. Clearly, through its evolution from The Nashville Network to The National Network (the fuck does that even mean?) to SpikeTV, they've still got the same good ol' boy, small time mentality that has kept them a second rate network all along. TNA isn't the only thing suffering over there. "Blade" was getting some positive reviews, and it still got cancelled. I only knew about "Afro Samurai," because I saw it in "Wizard," and that show stars Samuel L. Jackson. Most people will watch anything that man is in ("Shaft," by God. "Shaft."), yet no one watches that show.
So moving TNA to Monday nights won't help, because no one's going to know that they're on Monday nights. They've already got some of the biggest names in the business and that's not helping. They're branching out, touring, got video games on the way...what more can TNA do? The only thing that hasn't changed is the way SpikeTV does things. So if TNA wants to finally become one of the big boys, they're going to have to get off of Thursday nights on a network not named SpikeTV. You'll see how right I am when Smackdown starts outperforming Impact on MyNetwork TV.