A year after WWE's flagship, Raw, moved to three hours, could SmackDown potentially be following suit?
With SmackDown's contract with SyFy ending next month, PWInsider.com (h/t WrestlingInc.com) notes that WWE could expand the show to three hours in a bid to make it more enticing to network executives.
WWE officials are looking to get SmackDown on par with Raw in hopes of getting a good deal from SyFy next month when the current TV contract expires. One WWE source says they wouldn't be surprised if SmackDown ends up going to three hours.
Of course, moving to three hours has its benefits.
More money in TV rights fees for WWE, obviously. It would also serve to make wrestling far more valuable to SyFy or any other network it aired on. SmackDown would basically own the entire night. There would be more airtime for under-used wrestlers like Heath Slater, Alex Riley and Zack Ryder too.
Would you watch SmackDown if it was three hours long?
But it has considerable drawbacks too. First of all, isn't there enough WWE programming being churned out?
Currently, you have (deep breath) the three-hour Raw, Raw AM, SmackDown, Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam, Total Divas, Superstars and NXT.
And that's not even counting international shows like The Bottom Line, Experience and Afterburn or reality series Legends' House, which is currently being shopped around to networks.
On top of all that, WWE wants to give SmackDown an extra hour? Amazing.
The quality of SmackDown would suffer too, as it has on Raw since it added the extra time. When you have a three-hour wrestling show, it inevitably comes down to simply filling time rather than churning out great, compelling television.
Raw can still be good these days, but it does feel like a marathon. At times, the show can drag so much you feel like you're watching a Peter Jackson movie.
This goes without mentioning the already stressed and overworked people in creative and production. How will they feel about even more TV time being added?