Canceled, not canceled: What is the real deal with TNA, Destination America?

tv-clipartExecutives at TNA are rattling their sabres threatening legal action regarding a recent report that its TV broadcast partner, Destination America, is canceling TNA wrestling programming in September.

What is missing in the sabre-rattling is worth pointing out.

“It has come to our attention,” a statement from TNA read, “that several internet news sources have falsely attributed statements to TNA, its executives and broadcasting partner. These false statements constitute defamation and if necessary we will seek all legal remedies available to us.”

What’s missing? One, the name of the person responsible for the original report, Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer, who broke the story, citing several unnamed sources.

As is often the case in the wrestling blogosphere, reports originate at one source, then spread outward like a match starting a wildfire. The statement is a clear effort on the part of TNA to tamp down speculation by scaring off other website editors and columnists from engaging in the topic.

Note to TNA: It’s not working. Also, good luck filing suits in multiple courtrooms across this great, wide country of ours to raise your claims. Defamation claims are notoriously hard to win in U.S. courts, and expensive to the point of being almost pointless to threaten them in the first place.

Which brings us to point two: the first defense to a defamation claim is the truth. Note in the statement from TNA that we don’t get anything about whether or not the report that Destination America is actually going to cancel TNA progrmming is true or false. Subsequent, we haven’t heard anything from Destination America on the matter, which if we had, wouldn’t that seem to clear things up?

If Destination America were to come out and say definitively, Nope, we’re not canceling the show, that would end it all right there, right?

So what do we have going on here? Conventional wisdom is that the network is planning to axe TNA programming, but with a contractual commitment running through September, that’s three months-plus to bring in whatever can be brought in from ad revenues, which aren’t going to be any easier to get in now that there’s this public perception that the run for TNA is set to come to an end.

In that context, then, issue a non-denial denial, threaten legal action, hope the story goes away, and who knows, maybe ratings get a bump from the controversy, and Destination America and TNA continue past September.


Programming Note: The next CGI Raw Impact Podcast with Chris Graham and Doug Ward will cover this story from all angles. Click here to listen.

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