AEW recently announced a new reality show that will air on TBS. Tony Khan’s company previously produced “Rhodes to the Top,” which gave fans an inside look at AEW through the eyes of Cody and Brandi Rhodes. Once Cody left the company for WWE, AEW had to go back to the drawing board to fill the time slot.
The new series promises to give fans a look at how AEW’s major shows come together from a backstage perspective. This type of programming has long been in WWE’s playbook, with shows such as WWE 24, WWE Evil, and a slew of documentaries produced for TV and the WWE Network. One entertainment industry executive says AEW needs more of that type of content to thrive.
NBCUniversal business affairs manager Mik Pandit talked with Eric Bischoff on “Strictly Business” about how the landscape of pro wrestling has changed. Pandit noted that WWE continuously creates content that takes place outside of the ring. Mik believes AEW needs to focus on reaching a broader audience.
“I would say what I think [WWE] has done very well, that AEW needs to be mindful of is WWE content is everywhere where the consumer is,” Pandit said. “If you watch broadcast television, they’re on Fox. If you watch cable television, they’re on [the USA Network]. If you stream because you want to see next-day content, for now, they’re on HULU. If you want to watch the monthly pay-per-views, they’re on Peacock. But I think what they’ve done on top of that is the outside-of-the-ring content that has cultivated to the point where the brand remains present in people’s minds who don’t watch wrestling.
It’s valuable for driving the demographics that might not necessarily watch the in-ring content to the in-ring content. The whole reason Total Bellas, Total Divas, Miz and Mrs. have been on TV so long is because that drives a mainly female viewership to the main content that they didn’t necessarily have. The Andre the Giant documentary that was on HBO was one of the most successful HBO sports documentaries that they’ve done, and now we’ve got two Vince McMahon projects. One which is sold to Netflix, the one which is still looking for another network, but these are all outside the ring ancillary products that do drive revenue and a following to the product and I think that’s something that AEW should be mindful of right now.”
The new reality show will be a good first step towards AEW generating more outside-the-ring content. As the company works to find a streaming home, there should be plenty of opportunities to expand into that realm. Time will tell if Tony Khan is planning to take such a strategy.
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