Anthem Sports and Entertainment announced today that they have purchased a majority interest in HDNet LLC which is the parent company of AXS TV and HDNet Movies. Mark Cuban and AEG Entertainment will remain on as equity partners.
Actor, producer, and TV host Steve Harvey will also have a seat on Anthem’s Board of Directors. He will have input on content development.
Anthem is the parent company of Impact Wrestling. The Impact TV show will eventually move from Pursuit to AXS TV as part of the new deal.
Everyone is asking what will happen to NJPW and WOW on AXS TV with the changing landscape. One would assume that the current contracts will still be honored but things could obviously change when it’s time for renewal or any future plans for a schedule line up overall. There had been talk that Anthem wanted to turn a US TV network into a similar format like their Fight Network station in Canada.
Currently AXS TV has NJPW as its “flagship” pro wrestling show, while WOW airs in seasons. Anthem obviously sees Impact Wrestling as its main wrestling show.
Impact Wrestling has become a weak brand. The last few weeks they haven’t been able to draw 4,000 people on the Twitch simulcast version of their weekly Friday show. Pursuit will not release weekly ratings numbers and it is not available on most cable outlets.
Impact Wrestling Co-Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore continues to hire in his long time friends behind the scenes and in front of the camera on Anthem’s payroll. John E. Bravo, D-Lo Brown, Jimmy Jacobs, Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, RVD, Johnny Swinger, Chris Sabin, Cody Deaner, and Gail Kim all worked with D’Amore at various times over the decades for his Border City Wrestling group out of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Each week Impact airs an average of four matches while the rest of the two hours consists of B-Movie level quality wrap around segments that look like Cinemax horror, action, and comedy from the 1990s. It’s as if they were written by teenagers for teenagers but guys like Tommy Dreamer, Konnan, and Jimmy Jacobs are actually part of the creative team.
Sami Callihan has been pushed as the top heel by squashing people like Tessa Blanchard, Tommy Dreamer, and Melissa Santos. Impact Wrestling World Champion Brain Cage hasn’t been 100% due to back issues.
Impact is also currently in the midst of a bitter contract dispute with Killer Kross who wants to be released from the company. They won’t let him go because they know he could potentially be a big star elsewhere.