There’s an all-women wrestling promotion coming to wide TV distribution this fall, and it’s doing so through an interesting model. That would be WOW – Women Of Wrestling, created by David McLane (founder of the initial Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling that Netflix’s GLOW was based on) and owned by McLane and Los Angeles Lakers‘ owner Jeanie Buss. WOW announced Monday that its new season will be available globally in syndication through Paramount Global Content Distribution, and that it’s already been cleared with multiple U.S. station groups (including CBS owned-and-operated affiliates) and has struck international licensing deals. Here’s more on that from a release:
WOW – WOMEN OF WRESTLING, the world’s premier all-female sports entertainment entity, today revealed its new key art and announced that the series will premiere nationwide the weekend of Sept. 17. WOW, the only all-female wrestling organization with a global TV footprint, will be available in syndication via Paramount Global Content Distribution, marking the largest-ever distribution deal in the history of women’s wrestling.
WOW – WOMEN OF WRESTLING has been cleared in 100% of the U.S. including the following station groups: CBS-owned-and-operated stations, Sinclair Communications, Nexstar Broadcasting, Hearst Television, TEGNA Media, Weigel Broadcasting, Gray Media and Cox Television. Internationally, the show has also already been licensed in Canada (CHCH and CHEK), Australia (10 Play) and Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (MOLA), with more to come.
…“From sports to politics to business and beyond, women’s voices are being heard louder than ever, and the Superheroes of WOW couldn’t be more excited to step into the ring on Sept. 17 and join this revolution,” said WOW owner Jeanie Buss. “We’re grateful to our partners at Paramount Global Content Distribution for providing a platform for these inspiring athletes.”
“The Superheroes of WOW have come from all walks of life to prove who’s the best, and are eager to show the world what’s been missing for years from women’s professional wrestling,” said WOW creator David McLane.
“We can’t wait to share the thrilling sports entertainment experience of WOW – WOMEN OF WRESTLING with a wider audience,” says Dan Cohen, chief content licensing officer at Paramount Global. “We know viewers will be inspired and empowered by the Superheroes’ athleticism and emotional backstories, while being thoroughly entertained by this unique roster of athletes. We look forward to working with Jeanie Buss and David McLane as we continue to grow this brand.”
The release also mentions that AJ Mendez will serve as an executive producer and color commentator. Mendez is known for in-ring work for WWE from 2009 to 2015 (as A.J. Lee), for her 2017 New York Times best-selling memoir Crazy Is My Superpower, and for her writing projects with actress Aimee Garcia, including a four-part IDW comic series GLOW vs. The Babyface (based on the Netflix show), a four-part Dungeons and Dragons series At The Spine of the World, and the upcoming Netflix film Blade of the 47 Ronin (co-written with John Swetman). So she’s certainly a good figure to have involved here given her extensive wrestling and writing backgrounds.
WOW was initially founded in 2000 by McLane and Buss, and it’s been through several incarnations over the years. Its first season ran from 2000-01, and saw some syndication pickups in the following years. Buss and McLane began working on new original content for the promotion in 2012, with seasons 2-4 taped beginning in 2013 and premiering on their website and YouTube in 2016. 2018 saw the taping of new episodes for seasons 5 and 6 on AXS TV, which aired there in 2019. The fall of 2019 saw further tapings, which aired on Paramount-owned Pluto TV earlier this year as season 7. And now season 8 is coming to a syndicated TV model through Paramount Global Distribution, beginning Sept. 17.
The TV syndication model (where different stations air the show at different times) has been used successfully in wrestling before, with many early wrestling series (including the original GLOW) airing exclusively in syndication. It’s been less common in recent years, though. It will be interesting to see how this works out for WOW.