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Warner Bros. Discovery Exec Wants More AEW Content for TBS & TNT

Unless you've taken yourself off the pop culture grid over the past year, you know that since David Zaslav and his team took control, Warner Bros. Discovery has been and continues to go through some serious rebirthing pains. Within the past 24 hours, we've seen major cuts to Warner Bros. Television as well as the shuttering of digital content provider Studio 13 and the director/writer mentoring program, the Warner Bros. Television Workshop. What it's also done is call into question the long-term futures of WBD's linear cable networks (such as CNN and HBO). Two of those networks, in particular, TNT and TBS, look to be going through some serious growing pains as Kathleen Finch, Warner Bros. Discovery US Networks Group Chair & CCO, look to define the networks through a mix of scripted, unscripted & sports programming. So what does this have to do with Tony Khan's AEW? Aside from the fact that the professional wrestling company runs live and pre-taped content on both networks, it sounds like AEW may end up playing a much bigger role in keeping both networks alive.

warner bros discovery
Image: AEW/Warner Bros. Discovery

Interestingly enough, Finch's heads-up came during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where they were discussing the future of scripted programming. Discussing whether audiences is the key difference between the networks, Finch explained that what separates TBS and TNT from other WBD's networks is that they're "many things — sports, comedy, drama, movies." That said, Finch sees the commonality between their audiences: "What they have in common is incredibly loyal, male-skewing audiences. And, by that, I mean 55 percent male — not 85 percent." To that end, Finch is looking for a way to brand both TBS and TNT in ways that will keep those viewers coming back during those "between days" and keep them as active viewers from Monday to Tuesday, Tuesday to Wednesday, etc. That's when Finch mentioned how well both networks play "in the sports space." And what might be a good sign of what WBD thinks of Khan's AEW, Finch used the wrestling company as an example of how a ratings-grabber might be used in other ways on other nights. "One of the things that we're doing around sports is creating shoulder programming to hold onto those fans. "AEW [All Elite Wrestling] pulls huge numbers, so we are working with the wrestling team to figure out what new kind of content can we build that's not in a wrestling ring."

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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