We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Viacom was considering dropping out of contention for WWE's domestic television rights after feeling "toyed with" by WWE. We noted in that report there had been a shift in Viacom's position.
With all the attention WWE has been getting about the WWE Network in addition to the company possibly bringing all of their programming to a single cable network or family of networks, the talk at Viacom is to take Spike TV and expand their own programming. The idea would be to take the money that was earmarked for the WWE rights and double down and create their own "wrestling-heavy" network.
We're told the feeling at Spike TV is that TNA will continue to lose more expensive top stars (as they have with Hulk Hogan, AJ Styles, Sting etc.) and they're under the impression Jeff Jarrett's group will be in play to land them. We're told Jarrett's group already has interest in Styles and could look to land Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy when they're available (September and February '15 respectively). While sources have indicated the original intent of the Jarrett/Toby Keith group was to try and land TNA's Spike TV spot at the end of the year, Spike could be interested in keeping TNA and giving Jarrett's promotion their own show as well.
TNA does not have exclusively in their current deal for Impact and will have "little to no leverage in the next deal."
Further, Spike wants to re-examine the possibility of bringing New Japan Pro Wrestling programming to American television. While NJPW has struck up a working relationship with Ring of Honor, they are eventually looking for a larger US presence than that. Spike and NJPW had talked in the past, but nothing ever came of it.
Spike TV is toying with the idea of adding several new wrestling shows when their original intent was to bid on all of WWE's programming. Because of this original intent, they already had plans in place for how they would handle having wrestling on the network several nights a week.
While nothing is for sure, we're told serious exploration is going on in terms of Spike traveling down this path without WWE. While TNA has done a decent job of bringing in viewers for Bellator (in which Viacom owns), it would stand to reason they'd do an even better job of attracting viewers with more pro wrestling programming.
It's also possible that if WWE lowers their expectations for their programming that Spike could reconsider but right now they're crunching the numbers on simply offering their own wrestling shows.
One observer compared these negotiations to the last time Spike TV tried to renew their deal with WWE, publicly walked away out of spike and left WWE out to dry. This forced WWE to return to the USA Network with their "tail tucked between their legs."