Impact Wrestling announced today they would be moving from Pop TV to the Pursuit Channel beginning on Friday, January 11 at 10 pm ET. The first episode will feature the aftermath of Impact Homecoming PPV on January 6 from The Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Earlier today, Impact Executive Vice President Scott D'Amore spoke with Wrestling Inc.'s Nick Hausman about why the move makes sense due to the Pursuit's demographics, short and long-term ideas for the promotion, and having Impact air after WWE SmackDown (which will air on FOX at 8 pm ET beginning on October 4, 2019).
D'Amore commented on POP working with them throughout the years and how this move will just help the brand take another step towards bigger things. When management changed over at this beginning of this year, D'Amore noted the promotion wouldn't be changed overnight.
"First and foremost, I have to say POP TV — despite all the frustrations that are our very passionate fan base has — they have been a very supportive partner over the years that we've been there, and they've been supportive through this process," D'Amore said. "We've been looking and evaluating things on an ongoing basis, when myself and Don [Callis] came on board at the beginning of the year, we always said it was going to be a slow process. It was going to be a bunch of small victories, a bunch of small maneuvers that would lead us to bigger and better things. We think we had a great 2018 where we made a lot of positive steps, and as we look back to the beginning of the year to where we are now, we're very hopeful and excited about things."
In regards to the channel change, D'Amore said the demographics is the fundamental difference between POP (a female dominated channel) and Pursuit, which is focused more on outdoors shows that are more male dominated. The move to Pursuit at 10 pm ET is considered a starting point with their partner, but things could expand as 2019 moves along.
"POP is changing up things on the network and while both sides acknowledged we were never the right fit for a female dominated network, we enjoyed a few years together," D'Amore continued. "We've been looking at moving on, doing some other things, as we looked at the options it seemed like the best time to make a move to Pursuit, which is a sister company to Impact Wrestling. There's an ownership stake that [Impact parent company] Anthem Sports & Entertainment has in them and Pursuit is a male dominated demographic. They're excited to have us, it gives us a nice home base and it doesn't mean that we don't have long term plans that we hope for Impact to be as a television show and a wrestling company. We're excited to have a partner that is excited to have us.
"The first part of this deal is what we're doing now, the flagship Impact broadcast, airing on Friday nights at 10 pm ET. And I know people look at that and go, 'Oh my God, it's the death spot.' Well, if you look back, when we debuted on Spike TV, it's a different era and network, but wrestling fans find good wrestling. When we went on Spike TV at 11 o'clock on Saturday, we went out there and did probably about 850k viewers when we debuted. We're excited to work with Pursuit on building it as a platform. We have some ideas and things in the work for other properties on Pursuit. Also, looking to expanding our domestic and international distributions."
D'Amore was also asked about his thoughts of Impact being on right after WWE SmackDown on FOX and if that would be too much wrestling for fans. He noted in this "DVR world" those type of things are considered, but aren't going to necessarily be a deciding factor.
"I mean, we're cognizant of where all the wresting program are, for sure," D'Amore responded. "In a DVR world, you look at those things, but don't let them be the guiding factor on your decision. Fridays at ten o'clock is a prime time time slot on a network that's excited to have us, it's where we start coming right out of Homecoming here, but is that where we're going to stay? That's kind of up in the air, we've talked about a lot of things, but first and foremost, you always have to take a first step."
The full interview with Scott D'Amore will air on this coming Thursday's episode of the WINCLY podcast. In the full interview D'Amore also comments on Impact's current relationship with Chris Jericho and the edginess of the current product. You can listen to the latest episode of the WINCLY, featuring Bully Ray and ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb, in the embedded player below: