There are three major options on the table for Smackdown Live when the show leaves USA Network
WWE’s stock surged 15.4% on Thursday after reports of the company nearing a deal with NBCUniversal to keep Monday Night Raw on the USA Network for almost three times the amount they are currently getting. Smackdown Live, according to the report, is being shopped around to other networks.
Variety is reporting that the frontrunners to get Smackdown are Fox, Facebook, and Amazon. Fox has been rumored for months and Facebook recently aired the “Mixed Match Challenge” series. However, the story notes that there was unhappiness from WWE about the declining numbers for that show from week to week.
If Smackdown moves to Fox, it would likely stay at 2 hours. That might not be the case if it gets picked up by Fox Sports 1. The 2-hour show is more attractive to fans but 3 hours would allow WWE to increase their price because there is more time for advertising.
Source: Pro Wrestling Sheet
NBCUniversal Reportedly Declined New SmackDown Live Deal In An Effort To Keep Raw
WWE‘s television future took an interesting turn on Wednesday, as NBCUniversal reportedly declined to re-up its current deal for SmackDown Live in an attempt to keep Monday Night Raw.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, SmackDown is now up for open bidding and the TV rights are being shopped to various networks. The publication cites sources and claims NBCU is focused on renewing its pact for Raw, which is expected to go for as much as three times its current value.
WWE’s contract with NBCU is set to expire in September 2019.
Annie Kruger — a spokeswoman for WWE — told Sporting News in March that the company plans to announce their new U.S. TV partner between May and September of this year.
NBCUni snagged the rights to SmackDown back in 2010. It first aired on SyFy before moving to USA in 2016. The show currently garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals.