WWE SmackDown To Switch Broadcaster (And Air Day) In 2019

No more Tuesday night SmackDown...?

WWE have reportedly reached a deal with Fox to air SmackDown Live, after NBC Universal turned down their right of first refusal in renewing a deal.

According to ESPN, sources have described the new deal as 'massive', with Darren Rovell explaining why SmackDown may have been so appealing to Fox:

'With live TV viewed as a prized commodity in the era of DVR and on-demand and "SmackDown Live" straddling the worlds of scripted and sports TV, Fox greatly valued the opportunity to pursue one of WWE's signature programs.'

This deal will apparently begin in Autumn 2019, and although few extra details were present in the initial ESPN report, TheWrap is reporting that Fox will air SmackDown on Fridays as opposed to Tuesdays.

SmackDown has been broadcast on a variety of networks over the years, beginning on UPN in 1999. It then moved to The CW for a two-year stint in 2006, before switching to MyNetworkTV in 2008. A more long-term deal with Syfy was penned after this, stretching from 2010 to 2015, before SmackDown made its USA Network debut on January 7th, 2016.

Unlike SmackDown, RAW will continue to air on the USA Network. A potential move to Fox had been widely rumoured, which would have reportedly seen the show cut down to two hours. Instead, it looks set to continue running at three hours.

The ESPN report also comments on the effect this new deal has had on WWE's shares:

'Since Thursday morning, when the Hollywood Reporter broke news of the opening of negotiations, WWE's stock, through 11:30 a.m. ET Monday, was up 19.1 percent.'

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Jack King

Written by Jack King

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