As part of the five-year domestic agreement with NBCUniversal, Friday Night Smackdown will move to USA Network starting in October 2024. In addition, during the 2024/25 season, WWE Will produce four primetime specials that will air on NBC, marking the first time WWE will air on the network in primetime.
That would be weekly primetime. Recall, that the WWF was on NBC on Saturday nights with The Main Event or Saturday Night’s Main Event. And that was primetime Saturday night.
Despite FOX not wanting to renew their contract with Smackdown and the WWE, the show has been a success. Things were going to open up for WWE when it was reported FOX did not want to pay $300 million to keep the deal. The exclusive negotiating period expired without any progress.
Despite what the network thinks and if WWE lived up to their end. Smackdown has been regularly the number one show in the 18-49 demo on Friday nights and has been number one in viewership between network and cable. The show features WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio.
Per the press release from TKO Group Holdings:
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE President Nick Khan. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”MORE PODCASTS From FPC
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Currently RAW and NXT air on USA Network. RAW is currently number 2 in 2023 in the 18-49 demo. NXT has seen increases in viewership and demos with the return of Becky Lynch.
Wrestling: The Rock and Pat McAfee Appear on Smackdown
One thing to note RAW and NXT will continue to air on USA Network through September 2024. There are reports with WWE to NBC Primetime and Smackdown to USA on Friday nights, which will mean the end of RAW and NXT on USA Network.
According to sources close to The Hollywood Reporter, the market for the program is “extremely active,” with traditional linear networks, streaming services and “unexpected players” all interested.
According to the Sports Business Journal, however, NBC Universal is the front-runner to renew their deal to keep RAW on USA Network. There are interests from Disney and Amazon, and RAW could move off Monday night as part of the new deal.
That would be weird though to see RAW off Monday, but ratings do drop during NFL season, but they have been doing it for how long now.
Don’t forget Peacock (NBCUniversal) is the exclusive home of the WWE Network and all the big PPVs.
It will be interesting to see how those RAW negotiations play out. For now, WWE Smackdown is heading to the USA Network in October of 2024.
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